Welcome to the time of year when lots of friends and neighbors decorate their humble abodes.
“The Holidays,” as it pertains to decorating, is an environmental quantum state that keeps expanding. It used to start after Thanksgiving, but the Yuletide bubble has expanded exponentially. My friend Marie is rumored to decorate for the Holidays in October. I’ve done the math, and at this rate, Christmas will start April 1 by the year 2023. By midcentury, Christmases will overlap by weeks. Houses will be built with integral Christmas lighting, and there’ll be an elf on every shelf everywhere.
How should we, the citizens of Planet Happy Holiday, decorate? It’s easier than you think. Start by walking outside your house and have a look from the curb. Is there any red or green anywhere near the front of the house? If the answer is yes, then set the timer to go off because you are d-u-n, done. Enjoy a cup of coffee and some pie. If you have a wife or kids, you may have to up your game. The first thing to try is this: Turn on the porch light. Tell the kids it’s the star of Bethlehem. If they’re cool with that – ding! You’re done.
Some pushy families want more decorating. I personally think that’s unreasonable, but you’ve got to do your own time. Do what you’ve got to do. Make it as painless as you can.
I have a public service announcement here. Be safe on ladders. Aluminum ladders and wires can hurt Daddy real bad. Staplers and energized electrical wires hurt too. Don’t be stupid, and make the wife replace you by visiting NewDad.com after your Holiday-themed funeral.
If you insist on suffering through traditional lighting and decorations, do yourself a favor – throw last year’s lights in the trash. They’ll have about 5 knots per inch and still won’t work after you spend three hours untangling them. Spend the $2 and get new lights. While you’re out getting lights, stop and get a coffee and some pie. Talk to some old friends. Look at the Ford dealer and see what new trucks they have in, especially those heavy duty diesel rigs. Don’t forget the Christmas lights. Get some more coffee.
When you get home, open the lights and stretch them out. You’ll see you don’t have enough, so go back to the Mart and get some more. Take time for more pie and coffee. Cruise the car lot again. Get home in time for supper.
Eventually you’ll have to get the lights put up. However you put them up, the plug will be on the wrong side and then the lights will die after 7 minutes. It’s just the way it is. Have some more coffee.
Some guys in your town will have their houses done up with beautiful and elaborate light displays that look like something on HGTV. Some guys have their lights laid out like they’re doing rocket surgery or something. Here’s the simple fix: Don’t let the family see those houses. If you’ve got to disable the car every evening before the lights are turned on, then do it. Have some more pie and coffee.
You could end up stuck decorating over and over until it meets some matrilineal ideal. That’s what we in the trade call “Holiday Heck.” To prevent that, make your wife and kids watch the movie “Christmas Vacation,” so they’ll feel sorry for Clark and you. You may get a reprieve.
You may even get by with doing the porch light thing. If pressed, you can fashion a robe out of some old sheets and sit on the porch as part of a living nativity. Take your coffee and pie out and sit under the porch light a while. You’ll get several points with the family while you get to watch the trucks go by. If you can borrow a baby to lay in a manger, you get extra points. Give him some of your pie, but hold off on the coffee. He can’t have that until he’s old enough to do his own decorating.