Hi Everyone! I HAD to get this post out before Christmas, as I've told a few friends about it, and frankly, its just too good to leave unshared!
Several friends back in the States have asked if Christmas in London is all classy and traditional and Dickens-ian. To which I reply a resounding NO! So here are a few pics to support my declaration.
This is a house just a minutes walk from us. It just cracks me up to see the decorations stop abruptly at the edge of the townhouse!
However, the following house is the real inspiration for my post! Its just a couple blocks away, on a corner lot, and they take their decoration seriously! There are lights all over the house, on the roof, and they even built a 'deck' for their nativity, since they have a wall that would keep you from seeing it in their yard.
But the kicker is the 'grotto'.
To the side of the house, they have a one-room building that they keep decorated. In summer, it hosts a koi pond and plastic lawn ornaments, such as chickens. (I kid you not, plastic lawn chickens keeping watch over golden koi!) For Halloween, they stuck a life-size Dracula in the corner... which freaked me out a little.
But Christmas is their true love, and they go all out, with a Christmas village, polar bears, penguins, wise men, Frosty, and of course, several Santas (because simply one Santa in the room would obviously be insufficient!) all accompanied by a children's recording of Christmas songs. Apparently, its quite well known/loved among the families in the area. The owners used to decorate the whole house inside and out and give tours before Christmas, until the government decided they were pushing the limits of 'residential' zoning and becoming too 'commercial' in their enterprise. :-) My questions lie less in the zoning, and more in the disbelief that parents were actually okay with children going into a stranger's home for the decorations! I assume the children were accompanied, but still... it rings a bit... strange to me. I leave you to judge for yourselves.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you "The Grotto"
And lest you feel like you're still not fully informed, I took a video for you. (Apologies for the car noises in the background.)
I'm sorry, I'm sure they are lovely people, but every time I walk past, I think of this:
** On a happy note, my friend came up with this and I told her I'd post it and make her famous! Don't buy an expensive back-of-seat mount for your iPad for kiddo entertainment. Just make a hole in a gift bag the size of your iPad, slide it in, pull the strings out one side and tie around your headrest! Brilliant!