Well, it’s that time of year. Thanksgiving has passed. Holiday shoppers have begun their indulgent march into that purgatory of plastic. And the Race to the Rooftops has begun, as homeowners rush to their attics and garages in search of their Christmas decorations.
The first couple of years in our new place, I couldn’t be bothered with decking the house with boughs of holly, garish lights and cheap statuary. Bah humbug. Anyone who lives in a homeowners’ association knows the many pitfalls that can lie in wait for the unsuspecting homestead bedazzler – Did I put lights up too early? Do I have too many up? Will the neighbors think they’re great? Did I leave them up too long? Who needs this hassle? Right?
This haughty arrogance nurtured and sustained me those initial years. I would drive through the neighborhood and sniff condescendingly at the Suburgatory Stepfords and their row on row conformity. I was way too cool to fall into this trap of lockstep lunacy.
Then in year three, after settling in, completing those new house home improvements and the boredom of suburban living kicked in, a neighbor started chatting me up about our ‘hood. He asked if I needed a hand putting up some decorations that year. After my Rick Perry-length pause (not followed by “Oops” but “No”) he mused that “the cul-de-sac” thought I might be injured and couldn’t decorate the place myself. I wasn’t dense enough to buy that and realized the gauntlet had been thrown.
The next month or two were spent indignantly collecting lighted reindeer, lighted trees, LED light strings and tiny, twinkly lights that burn hotter than heck (as I quickly learned). I had swags. I had icicles. I had entered the seedy world of Extreme Home Christmas Decorating – the subdivision dweller’s version of the Doomsday Cage Match featuring tool-bearing warriors rather than wrestlers.
After a couple of years, I realized I had made a classic rookie mistake. I’d gone all in on house bling instead of developing a theme. So I cut back the lights and went for creativity. I spread cottony fabric to simulate snow and crafted a Texan Winter Wonderland. This meant more statues, fewer strings, more work. The next year, we went green and bought a bunch of LED lights. Then I scaled back. Then I scaled up. Now, I’m just tired and would happily revert to the good old days of haughtiness and derision, if I could escape HoneyDo’s high, holiday expectations. When I get to Santa’s lap this year, I’m telling him that all I want for Christmas is the decoration scheme below: