Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I always look forward to piling the family in the car and cruising neighborhoods to gawk at decorations. Christmas cheer is all around. And, because the cheer is in the air it follows that the mess is in the yard. You know the set up: mismatching and haphazardly thrown up lights, toppled reindeer, nativities with Jesus MIA and the list goes on.
A casual drive through most neighborhoods will yield some pretty serious eyesores. There is always at least one house. If you just said, “Not in my neighborhood there isn’t.” You might just be the house.
I often wonder what the underlying reason is for many a yard to be decorated to death. How can homes look so festive and so far gone at the same time? What causes these twinkling travesties? How can a yard look as Dave Chappelle once put it so, “Bombed out and defeated.” And then… it hits me.
There are some serious family pow wows that determine how Christmas decorations will be planned. Do we hang white lights or colored? Do we put out Santa and what about his reindeer? Who do we hire for the live nativity?
Christmas Decorating Decisions
In our home most of these decisions are decided by the better half. My wife has a refined tackiness meter and is pure class. Her sense of taste causes me to seriously question my own. If I like a particular decoration does this mean that it looks like something that would be found in Clark Griswold’s yard? Probably, so I won’t fight it. But, this doesn’t seem to be the case for all homes.
I began to play out in my head the dialog between husband and wife. What impact did the kid’s play? Ultimately, what pushed these dads to such a tacky course of action? Then I found pictures, many of them all over the web of some woeful decorating jobs. In all these pictures it looked like men did the decorating. I recognized the extremes… over done vs. barely done. Armed with these pictures I began thinking about what the back stories may have been. I sought answers to the question of “What led these men to birth these Christmas wastelands?”
What Made Dad Do It?
A Pestering Partner
Mom told dad he needs to get involved in spreading the Christmas cheer. The lights won’t hang themselves and she is tired of cleaning Cheetos stains from the Lay-Z- Boy. Dad’s cheerful response? Hang Santa high and light up a stream of urine pouring into the front yard. Maybe next time mom will think twice before asking dad to decorate the house. If dad was half decent at this job perhaps Santa would have at least spelled his name.
Kids Rule, Dad Kool
Everyone else is getting inflatable yard monsters and the kids must have them. Dad, being the cool dad he is, sets off to the store. When mom gets home, much to her chagrin, she finds the “inflatable” Christmas creatures lying face down in a heap of their own ruin. Dad notices mom’s look of disapproval. He rushes over to the wall and plugs in the cord; a last-ditch effort to save face. The whole winter horror land fills to life. Five competing Christmas songs ring out over each other producing no discernible tune. The kids cheer over the muddled music. Mom hangs her head in defeat. It’s settled, the decorations stay up.
The Need for Speed
Mom and the kids are off to the mall to knock out some holiday shopping. Dad had other plans but those have been side railed. Mom wants the lights out and wants them out now. In order to get back to football, beer and scratching himself dad will have to make this quick. And, since he is making it quick he may as well make it a game. He sets his Casio timer, and waste no time ripping open the first box. He takes out 2 light bundles, one for each hand, and tosses each over the bushes. He then finds the socket and plugs the strand in. Bushes done. He seeks to repeat this act in lighting the house. But to get the lights up and over the roof he will need more heft. He open the second box, connects three light strands, and attaches the end of the last strand to a small log. With all of his old man strength he heaves the log, with lights, over the house. He repeats the process five more times. He is finished. Dad crosses his arms in satisfaction, takes a deep breath, and pushes the stop button on his watch. 30 minutes, it’s a record. He kicks the empty boxes into the garage and heads inside. He could use a Pabst. Dad never even takes pause to realize the fruit of his labor. No, that is a sight for the neighbors to enjoy. A sight that looks like a giant bioluminescent squid attacking a house.
Delusions of Grandeur
Christmas lights are on sale at The Home Depot. Dad goes big, he buys hundreds of strands of lights and a pallet of Gorilla tape. He starts his task where all ambitious holiday decorating plans begin… the roof. Working at an average spacing of 3″ per strand he completes his aim of completely covering the house in lights. It only takes him 2 days. With the task finished dad stands back, pulls down his blast goggles, and throws the switch. It is a beautiful Christmas eclipse. Henceforth the neighbors are forced to adjust to life on earth with two suns. Black out shades become commonplace as they are the only way to cancel out the nuclear glow. The upside is no one has to run their heat. A big grin extends across dad’s face, he has out cheered the neighbors . He sleeps like a baby that night.
I welcome your own theories. The farther from reason you find yourself the more likely we will have an acceptable explanation for all of this. Furthermore, the sooner this is solved the faster property values will return to normal.