We suburbanites and country folks in the northeastern part of the US tend to paint the bodies of our houses neutral colors of white, gray, beige, or brown. We do it because we're afraid that we might get sick of an unusual color, after all the time and money it took to paint, or we do it to avoid offending our neighbors, who might otherwise have to look at a brightly-colored house every time they look out their window, heaven forbid.
During this time of year, before the holiday decorations go up, many of our houses look anemic in the barren landscape. Neutral color schemes that looked fine when the flowers were blooming and the lawn was green are now contributing to an overall brownish-gray monotone.
Having just visited Ireland, I was reminded that not everyone shares this need to paint their houses the same color as the frost-bitten vegetation of November. Yes, the grass stays a verdant green throughout much of the year there, but the cities and town centers don't have much of it and the weather is pretty gloomy, especially in fall and winter. So what do the friendly citizens of Galway, Dingle, and Doolin do? They get creative with paint.
You can't help smiling when you drive into Dingle town, where O'Sullivan's Pub is painted bright blue. Or when you drive down this lane in Galway. (There was a patch of blue sky that day, but only for a minute.)
So if you want to brighten up the landscape a bit and make your own home more welcoming when everything around you is gray (without shocking your neighbors too much), why not paint your front door(s) a different color? Different from your shutters, say, or just different. Some of the old barns around here are sporting new red metal roofs and a few adventurous folks have chosen non-traditional colors for their shutters and doors, such as turquoise and fushcia. Even if the color isn't one I would choose, I applaud their nonconformity and always enjoy the jolt of color when I pass by their homes in the middle of a cold, barren winter.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and holiday decorating!