Revisiting the colors of Christmas: red

During this busy season, I’m revisiting a favorite Christmas series from 2012. I love Christmas decorations, and it seems even the most mundane everyday objects are trying to put on their Christmas finery these days:

A fire hydrant dresses in its Christmas best.

Even trees by the river are getting decked out for the season (with a little help from a Christmas fan). My husband usually spots these first, and I turn giddy when I hear these outdoor decorations have gone up for the year. Continue reading

Mental health days and March Madness

By middle school, we already had clearly drawn lines. And on this weekend each year, we’d arrive at school in red, two shades of blue, or, for a very few of us, gold and black. These were the battle colors we claimed for ourselves, not of gangs but of area universities: NC State, Carolina, Duke and Wake Forest.


The one on the right isn’t exactly Carolina blue, but it’s the closest thing I own to it.

I grew up in a place and time when college basketball took a backseat to nothing, including school. Teachers and students alike eagerly watched those afternoon games.

Friday afternoon of the ACC tournament was a sacred rite of the classroom. We set aside our Bible belt learning of “Love thy neighbor” in exchange for a few days of (mostly) good-natured rivalry. Continue reading

The colors of Christmas: red

Last week, I began a series for Advent on the colors of Christmas. This week’s focus is on the color red, one of the most traditional colors associated with the season. I remember a few years ago seeing a friend at church in November wearing a beautiful orange sweater, and she said she was trying to wear it one more time before December fashionistas dictated red as the “must-wear” color.

In Western culture, the color red has widely varying associations: blood, passion or love, danger, stop (like the color of most of the traffic signals I seem to see these days) and many things Christmas (candy canes, Santa’s suit, Rudolph’s nose, bows, holly berries).

Even our expressions use the color in varying ways. You don’t want to be “in the red” (in debt) at the end of the year. The parking deck at the mall may have you “seeing red” (feeling angry) as you struggle to find an open space.

“Red-letter days” are ones we anticipate for their celebrations and importance. We “roll out the red carpet” to celebrities and dignitaries. And we can even “paint the town red” on a fun night out. But we don’t want to get caught “red-handed” (in the act) when we’re snooping to discover the contents of our wrapped Christmas presents.

For Christmas reds, there seems to be no end in what we can find in red. Let’s start with what blooms during this season: Continue reading