I love the decorations, particularly the lights, that go up at this time of year. If it were up to me, the displays of lights would stay on for the duration of the winter. I find it kind of ironic that the end of the Christmas season comes during the time period when the hours of daylight are at their shortest. Christmas itself comes a few days after the Winter Solstice, and the liturgical end of the Christmas season comes on the Sunday following New Year's Day. At that point of the year, there's precious little daylight and those of us with Seasonal Affective Disorder would really benefit from leaving all the pretty lights ON when the sun goes down.
But I digress.
My main hint to all those who are setting up their Christmas decorations is this: it looks best when you choose either a secular OR a religious theme. Not both. Santa was not present at the Nativity, nor was Frosty the Snowman. Neither the Magi nor the shepherds were accompanied by reindeer, nor did they present gifts of candy canes to the Holy Child.
When I was walking my dog last week, I passed a display that included three snowmen, a Nativity, and three Santas. I thought, "What the heck is this? The Three Wise Snowmen? We Three Kringles of Orient Are?"
But even this mixture of secular and religious pales beside the display my friend's neighbor put up a few years ago. That house had an enormous illuminated Nativity on their lawn, and a couple feet away was a huge, also-illuminated sign: SANTA STOP HERE". The first thought that came to my mind was, "Santa didn't come down the chimney to stick gold, frankincense and myrrh into the Christ Child's Christmas stocking. Sorry."
Anyway, let me reiterate: please do decorate, as it makes the world a prettier place. But pick a theme and stick to it. It looks better and makes more sense.