PREPARE yourself for a year of bad luck; courtesy of Oor Cooncil.

There is a long-standing tradition that Christmas decorations should be down by the Twelfth Day of Christmas – that’s the evening of January 5. The belief was that tree-spirits lived in the holly and the ivy. While the greenery was used for decoration, it provided a safe haven from the winter for these spirits. But the decorations had to be down and gone after the Festive Season or the spirits would bring mischief and calamity.

It’s a tradition that still holds today, and most people are well aware that leaving Christmas decorations in place after the Twelfth Day is courting disaster. And that’s why, by that date, decorations throughout the country are disassembled, packed into boxes and shoved into the attic. It’s an activity that takes place in houses, shops, factories and pubs. Nowhere, after the deadline of the Twelfth day, will you find festive decorations.

Nowhere, that is, except in West Lothian. Even now – as I write this, it is the Forty-fifth Day of Christmas – the neon decorations attached to street lighting in various boulevards and main roads around the county are still in place. Strip-lighting santas, candles, robins and baubles are still in place. Okay, they’re not switched on at night; probably in the hope that nobody notices.

No doubt those responsible will moan that they are “too busy” to take them down in time. Unlike those who run our businesses, shops and factories, I suppose.

Let’s face it: if your neighbour left her Christmas decorations up for weeks after the event, she would be the talk of the street. She would be seen as slothful and lazy. Somebody who lives a sloppy, slapdash life – a slacker. So, how embarrassing that when visitors to West Lothian drive around they can see that Oor Cooncil hasn’t managed to get their act in gear, weeks after the event. Such an apathetic and slipshod attitude speaks volumes about their approach to everything else for which they are responsible.

So, when West Lothian faces hardship, disaster and ruin this year, you know whose fault it is.


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