Tacky Light Run

Christmas lights

A typical Irish home on a Tacky Light Tour

One of the most rewarding aspects of  2013 was that Teen Girl joined me on weekly runs around town.

At a time in our lives when we don`t always see eye to eye, we at least share an interest in running. And I am glad of it.

Variety is the spice of running, especially for teens. They have a low boredom threshold at the best of times, so we use this time to explore a different part of town every time.

And we added a little extra element to that yesterday evening, by taking the Tacky Light Tour.

Yes, Christmas lights are still blazing here in Ireland. The Twelfth Day of Christmas is on January 6th, when the Three Wise Men reach their destination, so many people will keep their Christmas decorations up until then.

When the Teens were the Toddlers, few things thrilled them more than seeing Santas clinging perilously on chimneys, luminous Snowmen waving from gardens, and ropes of coloured lights blink furiously from gutters and downpipes.

Children flit easily between the worlds and reality and fantasy. And, I imagine, the frenzy of coloured lights and figures can still take Teen Girl back to that wonderful world.

Luckily, she is more than happy now, to do the tour on foot. And so we combined it with my Janathon Day Three  trot.

And trot we did, just for a one and half mile ramble around the town.  The pace was slow and easy, giving us ample opportunity to appraise the tacky lights.

Oh, I was tempted to whip out my iphone and take pics. Just for your further edification, you understand. But Teen Girl has a more finely honed sense of embarrassment than I. Bad enough to be running beside a totally uncool and seriously untrendy mother, but for said mother to be cheeky enough to take pics of other people`s homes. Well, that would be just too much.

And, besides, it would be a tad insincere of me. Tacky lights bother me. I plain don`t get why people would go to all that effort. Sure, the environmental aspect is a worry. There`s all that light pollution, the added burden on our collective carbon footprint and the sheer burden on the national grid.

But, mainly, it`s because I`m a cheapskate. I`d neither spend the money on the oversized ornaments, or want the electricity bill at the end of the season.

So why take pics if I am really mocking and judging?

I can enjoy in my girl`s delight, however. And I enjoyed the banter about the various decorations as we trotted around the town.

She loved the carolling dolls in an upstairs bedroom window. In plum velvet bonnets and gowns, each porcelain face was frozen in a singer`s “O” as they brought us back to Christmases past.

A favourite of mine was a very simple crib. Set inside the front window of an old cottage, it was simply lit with a red bulb and reminded me of  my childhood Christmases when decorations were low tech and Christmases were too.

But, despite my tacky light reservations- and partially because of them-I thoroughly enjoyed this Janathon run. Distracted by the lights, and enjoying the company and chat, I didn`t think about my time or form or what a lousy runner I am.

As we headed for the car, we were both startled by a life sized, waving Santa standing in a nearby garden. The house was in darkness making him seem a little more ominous in all his bulkiness. We laughed when we realised who he was.

We swiftly agreed that it was time for him to catch the next sleigh ride home.

Just as it`s almost time to leave this Christmas with the ghosts of Christmas Past.

Picture Credit: Journal.ie