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November 30, 2011 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Christmas decorations bounce and rebound. De-lighted.

Not from an explosion. Those lumpy multicolored piles on the lawns. Not laundry dropped. Or a drive-by rag tossing. Not a new form of gang turf wars. Just the daytime view.

A new form of gang tagging?

Now nighttime, it’s a somewhat intimidating marshmallow army: the Christmas yard inflatables. Something is humming and whooshing loudly at their backs. (Is that an intentional psychological battle weapon like bagpipes were? To keep dogs off their grass?) Each twilight they gush to life: glowing and bobbing. A wonderland of Christmas-themed puffy characters: Santa, snow globes with reindeer inside, and scary snowmen threatening to pull loose from their stakes and tumble with manic glee across the lawns. Proud homeowners gaze from inside while watching holiday shows on their flat screens.

The appeal is understandable.

Are Santa and Reindeer resting up?

Did Snowman and Santa duke it out last night?

Quick and easy. out of the box. Inflate and done. And if the neighbor gets one bigger, you can just go purchase another. A pair: matched in theme – or not? Apparently, not a thought. Just fill the space up. Keep the wife and kids happy (and easy to pack up and put away).

Too much eggnog?

Nooo! Say it ain't true: Trading the sleigh for a bike?

But while big and bright, are Christmas inflatables really right?

A Wise Man exhausted after his journey?

Holidays are for creating seasonal traditions – those childhood memories. How jolly is it for the kids? Bundle up (or put on the flip flops), fight the traffic to Wallymart/ Home-de-pro, using strategy worthy of an NFL team to locate a parking spot, –  only to grab the remaining torn box as kiddies sob and whine “I told you they’d be sold out of Mrs. Claus – now we only have Mr. Claus.” Oh, they’ll get over that. Just set it up and talk in positive phrases (while dialing frantically all other locations). Still, at night, all cheery and nice. It’s a Christmas scene that’s sure to delight?

Who needs the chore of stringing miles of Christmas lights?

Undoing the tangles – no matter how neatly packed the year before. Who would miss the hateful crunch of a light bulb as you stretch the string out across the floor? Do the kiddies really need to learn “don’t touch that – it’s hot”?  really means “don’t touch that – it’s hot!” And wouldn’t Christmas be more “silent night” without the cursing and struggling to get the ladder out of the garage (Can’t you guys put up the bikes in the right place? Who left the roller blades by the work bench? Your dad could have broken his leg). Kids are so stressed today, do they really need the anxiety? (Get out there and hold that ladder. He will not fall and crush you. Don’t be disrespectful. He’s trying to lose weight. Now get out there and help.) And spouses, so busy, how can they stop to find

OK. YOU see if you can find them.

those gutter clips, cup hooks, or even tiny nails (get me something – ANYTHING!) to finish hanging the last two and a half feet of lights. (No I can’t get off the ladder and just go buy some more. I told you look in the back of the left drawer.) Despite all the wiggling and jiggling, all lights finally up just right. Time to flip the switch – before dark, just in case…in case… why aren’t those 3 burning? I checked them all before starting! You saw me check them out. Is everything plugged in? What do you mean one of the extension cords was “acting funny”? Ah, the memories. Something every child must have to prepare them for their adulthood Christmases.

See, the annual Christmas lighting is a family gift that keeps on giving!

I’d like to chat more, but I guess we didn’t get the memo: “Thou shall adorn thy house with holiday wrap before the turkey cools.”

We’re late. So now I have to decide. What would Martha Stewart do? Yeah, roll all those lights into a huge lump and pitch it out between the trees (Contemporary art). Or maybe a slight variation by suspending it from a tree limb (in recognition of the miracle of recent meteor near misses)? Either way, de-lighted and done. All that’s left is to plop down a poinsettia on the porch, perhaps some tiki torches with red bows along the drive, and find a large, ornate, expensive-looking wreath.

What says Merry Christmas more than Tiki torches?

So I’ll be ready, with holiday eggnog in-hand, to face the neighborhood association glares with confidence and cheery “Ho-Ho-Ho” explanations. (And maybe speak with them about picking up all that colorful litter all over those yards)

Important to build those family Christmas traditions.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

29 Comments

  1. heretherebespiders / Nov 30 2011 6:12 pm

    Oh, I am SO glad they don’t have the inflatable fetish here! All I can think about is how hard it would be to get my dog to walk past them! I think we are running late with decorating, too – but I don’t recall seeing trees for sale locally yet… maybe not so late. Yes, I have horror stories about the joy I beheld while watching my father put up the tree… Ah, memories…

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    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 30 2011 8:09 pm

      Inflatable invasion. Isn’t there a rule somewhere that it has to look festive during the day as well as night? Long way from the Williamsburg deep green tablecloths, simple wreath with red bow, and white candles. Enjoyed your comments. Thanks

      Like

  2. cowtrailsandponytales / Nov 30 2011 6:43 pm

    I love this story!! Just last night I was giggling at all the inflateable characters on lawns shouting “Over here! Over here for gaudy Christmas decorations!” “Over here for a bit lacking in class or imagination”….

    But, really I should have nothing to say about this. I am late getting our house decorated – much to the 11 yr old daughters dismay. Not only am I late getting decorated for Christmas, but, and I’m ashamed to admit this, there is still a pumpkin on my front step.
    We live on a farm though, so hopefully not many have been offended by it. Think I’ll go throw it out and hang some Christmas lights.

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    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 30 2011 7:42 pm

      You’re not behind!(Officially you have until the first weekend after Thanksgiving …I think that’s written down somewhere.) We did move the pumpkin yesterday… Thanks for the giggles (and I love Christmas lights on a farm – but no pressure.)

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      • cowtrailsandponytales / Dec 2 2011 5:17 am

        Just had a thought….I’m going to decorate the pumpkin. Maybe a nice santa hat.
        I love the lights on the farm too, they’ll eventually get put up. Just waiting for a nice
        -25 with a howling wind.

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  3. Bongo / Nov 30 2011 11:16 pm

    I love your pics and comments about those inflatable things. They are so weird.

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    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Dec 1 2011 2:16 am

      Makes ya’ want to go bite ’em to see what happens? The neighborhood has this weird glow….can it be seen from outer space? Thanks for visiting

      Like

  4. melfrommass / Nov 30 2011 11:39 pm

    The things that people think are acceptable to put on display — there should be some kind of fine for these things.

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    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Dec 1 2011 2:19 am

      Maybe that’s the deal? These “displays” were originally designed to be placed in front of stores or on top of car dealer showrooms? (Wait there’s a city ordinance regulating those puffy guys on the roof) Wait until we have some strong winds….Thanks for adding to the dialogue,

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  5. kewsmith / Dec 1 2011 2:59 am

    I live where the wind blows constantly. We are awestruck by still days instead of windy days. I’ve always wanted to go peek and see what lengths people must go to in order to keep their inflatable decorations in our county. loved the pictures.

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Dec 1 2011 3:07 am

      Wonder if they have bricks in the bottom or tie them to stakes in the ground? Have a feeling we’ll find out shortly when the next front blows though.Thanks for stopping by.

      Like

  6. Snoring Dog Studio / Dec 1 2011 12:44 pm

    People decorate their yards largely because it pleases their children and other children walking by, and that’s a good thing. So, I say, go for it – neighborhood associations be damned. It’s only once a year, for crying out loud. Make it the most obnoxious winter wonderland you want. I’m fine with that.

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    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Dec 1 2011 1:47 pm

      Most neighborhoods around here have extravagant yard decorations. (It is a contest, you know – real or perceived depending on where you are) I love Christmas decorations (especially the ones with computer controlled lights and music). Adore the yards obviously created with kids that are a glorious jumble (you know all the assorted cut-outs and mismatched decorations that grow in number each year)
      Simply find it very amusing that people with room on the credit card go for the fast easy way with one or two massive inflatables (easy to top the neighbor’s time consuming display that way). People used to pick up the inflatables late each night and put them out each twilight. Now it seems they just deflate, and leave the lump all day – it’s just gotten very funny to see all these piles of “rags” on normally perfectly groomed yards.
      One day we will roll up a huge ball of lights and pitch it in the middle of the yard as “a contemporary Christmas display”…I’m visiting garage sales to build the collection…

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  7. sportsattitudes / Dec 1 2011 2:28 pm

    We do not experience the inflatable fetish locally, although there are a couple of beloved Xmas characters who face plant in one particular yard for 3/4’s of each day over a month’s time. I’m not sure I understand that concept. Christmas light strings are one of the most dastardly puzzles civilization has ever unleashed (if not untangled) upon itself.

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    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Dec 1 2011 4:04 pm

      With luck it won’t spread like chicken pox. Hey, you gave another reason for the use of Christmas light strings: Problem solving and critical thinking skill practice. Thanks for the addition – and for visiting.

      Like

  8. The Hook / Dec 1 2011 8:51 pm

    Hilarious X-mas post! Funny, clever and unique!

    Like

  9. Sunshine / Dec 1 2011 11:45 pm

    Thanks to your great post, I am sooooo happy to live a simple life. Only real snowmen here. 🙂

    Like

  10. Paprika Furstenburg / Dec 2 2011 3:31 am

    Love the idea of tiki torches with red bows!

    We’re Jewish so no inflatables or Christmas lights for us. At night our house is like the black hole on the street.

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    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Dec 2 2011 2:18 pm

      What? How have you managed to keep the kids out of big box aisle with all the blue strings of LED lights and inflatable Hanukah menorahs and dreidels? (Seriously, they exist here – can’t leave anyone out.) Thanks.

      Like

      • Paprika Furstenburg / Dec 2 2011 2:37 pm

        We don’t have kids so that part is easy, but keeping my husband away from the lights is a different story. Thank God he’s never seen the inflatable menorah in stores around here. He used to put up blue and white lights, but his laziness has worked in my favor the past few years and we haven’t had any lights.

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  11. philosophermouseofthehedge / Dec 2 2011 2:57 pm

    The frantic snatch and grab in stores spreads like a cold – hard to avoid it. Good time to grab a book / good read and plop down in front of the fire. (besides it’s fun to watch the neighborhood frantically decorating) All in good fun around here…trying to decide if the pink flamingo is too faded for the Santa hat and red bow ( you knew that was coming, right?)

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  12. jenniferneri / Dec 2 2011 3:30 pm

    ahhhh, we have one inflatable!!! Isn’t it horrible?? My husband came to the great north from the far south, and I guess wanted to feel part, so he bought one!!! As far as they go, it’s small & santa, and my three little ones are quite taken with it….

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Dec 2 2011 4:01 pm

      Must send pictures! It’s written down somewhere: if the kids love it, it’s OK. Thanks for adding to the holiday spirit and the conversation.

      Like

  13. Bill / Dec 8 2011 5:01 am

    Fun visuals. Loved the captions. Brought a smile to my face.

    Like

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