If you’ve been out shopping for holiday decorations to maybe hang a small wreath on your door or decorate a few shrubs in front of your house with multi-colored lights, yet found the shelves empty, it is because my neighbor, Tony, has them all.
Sorry, no Christmas for you this year – Tony took it all and put it in his front yard and then lit it up like the Houston Astrodome so as to ensure that our friends on Pluto could also enjoy his holiday festoons.
He’s the worst offender so far, but his maniacal compulsion to decorate and light every square inch of his house has touched off a frenzy of one-upsmanship in the last few years along our street.
One of my neighbors, in keeping with the reality TV craze, has set up a mock Santa Claus boardroom on his front lawn where a live Santa, with a bad comb-over, pits elves against one another and attacks them for their meager toy output and anemic profit margins only to shout “You’re Fired!” at one of the little helpers then sends them packing. This goes on from 7pm to 8pm each night with limited commercial interruptions.
But this is what it’s all about, right? Showing your Christmas Spirit! A time to get into serious hock with your creditors and ruin your credit score. Mortgage, Shmortgage….pay it next month, instead take that paycheck and spend it on flocking the queen palm tree in your front yard with fake snow.
The inflatable Over-sized Christmas Character Yard Display Industry sent their VIPs to our neighborhood to personally thank us for “Resuscitating a deflating industry.” Nearly every Disney Christmas character that is capable of being inflated to 14 times its intended size to create a menacing blob of plastic and hot air is displayed on our front lawns.
There is just too much stuff available to the average homeowner for use in “decorating” their home for the holidays. When I was a young lad, we did one thing to the outside of our house and one thing only. And that was putting up our Santa Ass display. My parents created our Santa Ass out of chicken wire, newspaper and sheets for stuffing, and found a Salvation Army Santa suit to wrap around the Santa Ass and legs.
Next, we watched Dad install the Santa Ass into the second floor window of our house and proceed to wire up the contraption so as to give the appearance that Santa was climbing into our house – bag full of toys and all.
Experiencing these Norman Rockwell moments with my family in our front yard was actually where I first learned profanity, courtesy of my father teetering on a ladder 30 feet in the air. But, the Santa Ass display was a huge hit in our town and enough attention was given to our house during Christmas that the local newspaper would cover our story every year.
As an adult, I have rebelled and now have the only unlit house in the neighborhood and am catching sled-fulls of reindeer do-do for it. Unlike Tony, I have decided to earn a living during the month of December rather than spend my days and nights tempting electrocution by constantly re-tooling the light show. I’ve been called Ebeneezer, Grinch, and Anti Claus because I have not yet stuck one bulb or inflatable thing in my yard.
I’m really more of an Easter person – the holiday where people all over the world celebrate “brunch.” I’ve got a giant Eggs Benedict inflatable that I’ll be setting up on the front lawn and I’ll be flocking my queen palm tree with Hollandaise Sauce all in an effort to capture the true meaning of Easter.
We’ll see if Tony catches Easter Fever and can somehow miraculously find Easter lights at Target, because if it’s a holiday you’ve gotta be lit.