Since we moved into this neighborhood a few years ago, we’ve been under an teensy bit of pressure during the Christmas season. We learned that our neighbors like to put up lights. A lot of lights. Like the kind that can be seen from a Russian satellite orbiting the earth.
There’s a little problem with this. Um…unlike the rest of the neighbors, we sort of really don’t like to put up lights. I know. I know. Bah humbug but my husband and I don’t find pleasure in standing out in sub zero temperatures with a pile of Christmas lights and a bunch of knotted up extension cords trying to figure out the “best” way to decorate our yard. I personally find sitting in front of the TV watching Seinfeld reruns with a gallon of wine in one hand and a vat of Christmas cookie dough in the other way more enjoyable. I also don’t like when people spend countless hours decorating their yards with lights, plastic angels, and inflatable Santas – then neglect to clean it all up until the following June when the snow finally melts.
Anyway, just to give you a better picture of how our street looks — when one of our friends found out where our new house was located she said excitedly, “Oh…you live on the street that puts up all of those Christmas lights every year! You must be out there for days decorating! Which house is yours?” When we explained that ours was the dark, haunted-looking house at the end of the road she said, “Wow. That’s your house? When I took my kids down your street and saw that house, I told them a bunch of pagans must live there.”
But as things go, after that comment I found myself cracking under the pressure and added a couple of (tasteful) lit trees on either side of our front door. Then last year, I painstakingly decorated a small bush with one of those light nets you basically just unfold and carelessly fling over your landscaping. This year I added a few lights to another puny bush (or maybe it’s a dried up weed, I’m not sure. I only know it’s big enough to hold a string of lights) but I’m still was nowhere near the “festive-quotient” the neighbors have designated for our street.
“You need to get Floyd down from the garage rafters,” I told Ron one Saturday morning. Floyd was the life sized (if you’re 4 years old) plastic snowman we’d purchased about 15 years ago at a home improvement store. Floyd had been stashed away high in our garage behind boxes and containers since we’d moved into the house.
Ron pulled the ladder out, climbed up near the ceiling, and retrieved Floyd. I immediately went to work, wiping the webs and dirt off of his overly-jolly face and placed him “at attention” outside near the corner of our garage. I was pretty pumped about how incredibly festive he made the small area near the sidewalk look.
The next day I when I went outside to my car, I noticed Floyd was gone.
“What the…?” I looked around panicked, scanning the driveway for his whereabouts. I headed toward the front yard where I found him face down under a large pine tree. “”Ohhhhh….The wind must have blown Floyd under the tree.” I pulled him out from under the pine, carefully brought him over to the house, and lovingly plugged him back in. “Poor guy,” I said, admiring him for a moment before I got into my car and drove away.
A few days later, same thing. I went outside and Floyd was nowhere to be seen. I frantically checked the driveway, front yard, and even crawled under the pine tree. No Floyd.
I ran around one side of the house, then the other. It was then that I spotted Floyd. Weird. How he got as far away as he did was disturbingly strange. This time, he had come loose, rolled all the way around the house, across the yard, and toward the woods that border our back yard.
A bit miffed this time, I carted Floyd across our yard, back to his spot in front of the garage, and plugged him in for the third time. As a safety measure, I moved him closer to the house hoping that he’d be somewhat shielded from the wind.
A few mornings later, Ron went out to start his truck but immediately came back inside. “Diane, you need to come here and look at this.” Even though I was still adorned in my Old Mother Hubbard-style pajamas, I followed Ron out to the driveway where he simply stopped and pointed. “He’s really starting to bug me.” Floyd was, once again loose, but this time he was lodged under Ron’s truck. Of course, he was still wearing that smug smile. “He’s a jerk,” Ron said. “He’s doing this to us on purpose now.”
I personally was sick of the guy, myself. Why weren’t other people’s Christmas decorations blowing defiantly around their yards? Why were we the only family on the street that owned a snowman with an attitude? I am ashamed to admit it, but part of me was actually really beginning to despise him.
After some discussion about accountability and consequences, Ron pried Floyd out from under his truck and dragged him into the garage. We had given Floyd a chance to shine and he blew it. I hope he enjoys spending the rest of the holiday season staring at the dark corner in the back of our garage….unless of course, he somehow manages to get loose and pulls another stunt.
Do you decorate your yard for the holidays? If so, do you enjoy it or do you do it out of obligation or “peer” pressure? Please comment!
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