My neighbor called me over to his house today. He had a complaint and wanted to voice his concerns. First, he said with a little twinkle of joy in his eye, my effort to decorate the yard was “disappointing” at best. At this point, I’ve only lit the little blue spruce and placed out the Christmas Penguin. As he pointed to my yard, he questioned my commitment, “Seriously?! That’s the best you can do?”
You must understand the historical context of his caustic consideration. Over the past decade we’ve slowly escalated the decoration competition to a ridiculous level . It started innocently enough. For years we each had a string of lights or two, and then one year I put out two glowing reindeer. The next year he set up an animated moose made of grape vine and in response, I added two more deer. The third year resulted in 450 feet of lights along my fence and around my house. The fourth year found ice-cycle lighting along his eaves and blankets of lights over each bush. Much to the electric company’s delight, there was no end in sight to this lighting duel.
But this year, I said, “Enough“. I’m simplifying my life and won’t be guilted into this childish competition. That, and after decorating last October and leaving the lights up through March, all my strings of lights were burnt out except the four remaining strands used to decorate the spruce. But I’m not about to go out and spend another $379 on lights! I won’t give my neighbor the satisfaction!
But I appreciate his concern: And so, in an effort to show Christmas Cheer and to get the Decoration Diva off my back, I used nature’s best bauble: Snow. My daughter and I spent an hour rolling out a overly-developed seat of snow, a respectable chest of chill and a noble cranium of cold for our winter greeter. We poked in some rosebud eyes and a willow-stem mouth, found festive clothing and in no time Frosty was ready to earn his keep. He now sits in our side yard and waves defiantly at my neighbor who continues to work late into the night, climbing his precariously placed ladder in his vain attempt to string his lights and mount the Moose higher on his roof.
In the words of Frosty, “Merry Christmas, neighbor! I win!”