Christmas decorations make me happy. Not the over-the-top, garish, Christmas music-blaring ones, but the simple ones: twinkling lights, red bows, stockings, candlelit rooms, and nativity scenes. As a kid (and even now) my mom used to find me sitting alone in the living room with only the Christmas tree lights on. No TV. No radio. No book. Just me and the twinkling tree. I loved those moments because the tree was just so beautiful, the lights just right, and there was time for quiet contemplation.
In my memory, it seems that Christmas used to come quietly, like it did all those years ago in a stable in Bethlehem. Now, though, it comes barreling in right after Halloween, blinding us with light displays, garish, shiny decorations, and blasting bad renditions of Christmas songs into our brains. (And while we’re talking about that, why are there so many dang versions of “Grown-up Christmas List”? Why?! I want to throw things at that song. And “The Christmas Shoes.” What is that?)
Anyway, I love Christmas decorations (that’s the point), but I think that a few of my fellow Nashvillians have gone a bit overboard. Or just don’t really have good decorating sense.
Case #1: the guy in my complex who decorates for Dallas Cowboy games by hanging jerseys on hangers outside of his house. This is not his Christmas decorations, but this will help visitors to my house know who I’m talking about. This guy decided to decorate the bush outside of his townhouse for Christmas. OK, that’s kind of acceptable. First, it was just red, shiny garland. Then, there were red lights. A few days later, I noticed white lights had been introduced. A day or so later, I realized this was all being powered by an orange extension cord run to a plug-in inside the guy’s house. On Sunday, I noticed a light-up star had been added to the mix. And just so you get a good mental picture, the lights aren’t draped prettily or fancifully. They’re more like thrown on there in a big blob. It’s not good. Not good at all.
A little ways down on Tusculum, a neighbor has these little 2 foot tall snowmen, intended (I think) to fit over those walkway lights so that they kind of glow from within. My neighbor has two. One is kind of near a walkway light, but hanging from the house. The other is perched atop the street light/lamp thing (think Charles Dickens streetlamps) next to the walkway leading up to the house. He’s about 5 feet in the air, stuck over the top of the lamp. Nothing says Christmas like an impaled snowman.
There’s also the family near the intersection of Harding Place and I-65 with the inflatable nativity. Mary, Joseph, Jesus, a donkey, a king and maybe a shepherd are all there. And it disturbs me a bit. What disturbs me more is the vast amount of inflatables these people have all over their yard. Snow globes, nativities, snowmen. It’s wild. Who knew all those things came to the nativity?
I won’t discuss the crazy house on Blackman Road whose lights seem more fitted for Mardi Gras (they are a dark purple, green, and gold—I didn’t know colored lights were ever this dark. . . .it’s weird) than Christmas. And just kind of tossed in the trees randomly (this could be like a winter fairyland of light if they were white lights, but with the colored lights, it’s just too much)! I haven’t been out to the Opryland Hotel yet. Some of those decorations cross the line from cool into garish in my mind, too.
So, folks, I love Christmas and all that comes with it, but let’s think before we decorate. As with jewelry and make-up, it’s always a good question to ask yourself if this is too much and take off a little.