How bright should merry be?

Posted: December 20, 2015 in family, Holidays, humor, Life, Relationships, Uncategorized
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A tale of two houses at Christmas

The light and the dark side of the holidays


We’re not Grinches and they’re not the Griswolds. We’re just neighbors with vastly different electric bills for the month of December.

You’ve seen the viral video of the house festooned with thousands of Christmas lights, glowing reindeer grazing on the lawn, neon icicles dripping from the trees, all pulsing in time to Mannheim Steamroller’s “Carol of the Bells”. My neighbors live there. We live in the dark house next door.

When we moved into the neighborhood 20 years ago, we were all on the same level when it came to decking the halls. Icicle lights on the eaves, luminaries lining the walk, wreath on the front door. Every house was different but together we made a companionable display of holiday cheer.

Then about 2010 or so, giant snowflakes appeared on the front windows of the house to the north. In the years that followed, a herd of glistening deer gathered by the shrubs, a forest of spiral rope light trees sprang up in the front yard, and endless rows of twinkling lights crisscrossed the shingles and siding. Then a big electrical box with cords and cables snaking across the snow and finally, the electronic carolers.

As the neighbor’s house got brighter, the rest of the block went dim. It’s not like we couldn’t compete; the rest of us just didn’t try to. 

When their display went up Thanksgiving weekend, my husband asked what we were going to do this year.

“How ‘bout a sign that says Ditto with an arrow pointing to their house?” I asked.

He suggested that maybe they wouldn’t think that was as funny as I did. I figure if you’ve lived by me for 20 years and you’re still talking to me, you must have some sense of humor.

But since they’re not dicks about it – their timer shuts everything off about 11:00 p.m. which is good since our bedroom and guest room both face “Viva La Christmas” – I took the high road, too. Our front deck railing is now wrapped in white lights which cast a soft glow on the “Peace” sign perching on the little wooden bench.

Though the neighbors’ decorations shout and ours only whisper, our holiday spirit is no less heartfelt. After all, it’s Christmas…and it’s the thought that counts. And I’m thinking a little peace on earth is just what we all need this year.


  1. “Though the neighbors’ decorations shout and ours only whisper, our holiday spirit is no less heartfelt.” Love it. Wishing you peace, love and hope this Christmas season and in the year to come!

  2. Denise says:

    I think people do what they like and that’s ok. It’s how people celebrate the birth of Jesus and what’s in their hearts that count. I don’t feel like it’s a competition, but I would not like to live by someone that does the music to the lights till the wee hours. We do decorating inside and out and our neighbor puts more up each year. I’m fine with it. I love Christmas lights from the simple to the elaborate. I like the star on top of the farmers elevator for goodness sake! But I love Christmas! Merry Christmas Friend! Let your light or lights shine bright!

    • We can see the Farmers Elevator star from our house, too! It’s especially pretty at dawn. We decorate inside and out, too, though maybe not as much in recent years as we used to. Christmas was very much my mom’s holiday and she went all out for decorating. Since she passed away, I take comfort in decorating with things that remind me of her. Merry Christmas to you, too, friend.

  3. twainausten says:

    Wish I had the energy to do that. Pretty.

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