The Tacky Things Your Neighbor Puts Up for Christmas

The Tacky Things Your Neighbor Puts Up for Christmas

It’s that time of year again- time for your neighbor, in all of his unbridled holiday spirit, to illuminate your neighborhood with more strands of light than the Disneyworld Main Street Electrical Parade.  In a horrifying display of Christmas cheer, he will once again erect a Christmas spectacle that gives you flashbacks to that overstimulating night you spent in Las Vegas while tripping on mushrooms for your twenty-third birthday.  The whole thing will give you waking nightmares, make you wish you could just take a baseball to at least half of things he has put up there, and secretly hope that one of your peskier neighbors will finally make a call to the HOA board to complain that such ostentatious holiday displays must somehow violate the community’s covenants.  Unfortunately, none of that will happen, and just like every year since they moved into the ‘hood, you will be forced to somehow avert your gaze from the whole darn audacious spectacle for the next thirty-two days.

I know, I know- I really shouldn’t rain on anyone else’s well-intentioned Christmas parade, but c’mon, how genuinely festive is all of this nonsense in the first place?  I get that everyone should have the right to decorate their property in whatever fashion appeals to them, but just because they have the right to do it doesn’t necessarily mean they should.  One of the houses in my neighborhood puts out the same over-the-top collection of gaudy holiday relics each and every year with one new piece of preposterous crap added to the menagerie each year.  While the sheer volume of cluttered items in a proportionally small lawn space is itself bad enough, it is the gauche nature of some of them that truly offends me.  First, there is the Eiffel Tower, which on its face, makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever.  What the hell do the French have to do with our notion of the birth of Christ?  Did the byproduct of the Immaculate Conception, unbeknownst to me and others, actually come out of the womb smoking cigarettes and watching artsy black and white films?  Then we have the display where Santa is shooting basketballs.  Each time I see this monstrosity. I think to myself that Santa must be working on his jumper so that he can elevate his game and get a walk-on scholarship at a Division I school.  After all, if there is anything the NBA needs more of it is pot-bellied white guys with overflowing beards and knee-high black boots.  But the one that really makes me shake my head and wonder is the sunglass-outfitted reindeer giving a cheeky thumbs up from the driver seat of the oversized monster truck, all of which leads me to a serious of questions.  Why does the reindeer need sunglasses in the low light environment of Winter at the North Pole?  What purpose could a flying reindeer possibly have for a monster truck when his transportation needs are already obviously covered?  And finally, what the hell does running stuff over in a monster truck have to do with the true nature of the Christmas spirit?

This last question rests behind most of my consternation over the vulgar Christmas displays erected around our nation during this time of year.  Does anyone out there even really recall what this holiday is supposed to celebrate?  Here we have a holiday to mark the birth of the son of God, a child born into a life of poverty in a nondescript manger adorned with no trappings of material observance but still replete with the peace and solitude of a quiet, majestic night lighted by nothing but the celestial stars above.  And what do we do with that?  Yeah, we go and put up enough flamboyant light displays to make the city of Dubai jealous.

And just what is our purpose in doing so?  Are we trying to outdo our neighbors, to show them once and for all who has the most holiday spirit, dammit?  Or are we trying to finally win the coveted neighborhood award for “Best Holiday Display” that that evil hag, Betsy Haverford, has won every year for the past six years straight?  That hardly seems in the spirit of marking the birth of a spiritual leader who taught His followers to love their neighbors as they did themselves, who continuously reminded us that it would be the meek who inherited the Earth.  Somehow I don’t remember the Bible passages that suggested that the person with the most pretentious Christmas display gets first crack at the pearly gates of heaven, like they were camping out for tickets to a sold-out rock concert.  Hopefully for them, Peter will be mightily impressed by the 30 foot inflatable Santa they had out in front of their abode right up until it finally blew away one particularly stormy Christmas eve.

I must admit I find it hard to believe that there are apparently people out there who feel that Christmas is “under attack” by some who want to limit religious affiliation on public spaces.  To be honest, I don’t give a darn whether the sign on the front lawn of the town hall says “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” because the holiday has pretty much lost all of its religious significance anyways, a truth that can be readily observed by the blasphemous displays in yards across the nation and our obsession with commercialism during a time of year that is supposed to focus instead on the principles Christ taught.  If these folks really want to concern themselves with the “War on Christmas”, perhaps they would be best served to look at the most credible threat to the solemnity of the season and do something about that.  Maybe then I won’t have to see that stupid reindeer and his monster truck each and every Christmas.

Steven Craig is the author of the best-selling novel WAITING FOR TODAY, as well as numerous published poems, short stories, and dramatic works.  Read his blog TRUTH: in 1000 Words or Less every THURSDAY at

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