Has this ever happened to YOU???

You’re the kind of guy who pours his heart and soul into his Christmas lights, spending eleven months out of the year just planning for the next display.  In January and the months immediately following Christmas, it’s all about quality control in looking back on the previous display to see what worked and what needs enhancing as you finally put things away.  The spring and summer months are for infrastructure development as needed, whether it’s in running another breaker from the box to provide more juice or possibly even the simple things like sculpting new structures to decorate with lights and place around the front yard.  When fall comes and the latest lighting options begin appearing on store shelves, you’re the first in line to fill an order that will revitalize your inventory for the next year, and then finally when that illustrious weekend after Thanksgiving comes around … you know, the one that has everyone all up in a tizzy about shopping or something … well, that’s your time to shine, when the neighborhood gets just a little bit brighter as you spend entire days hanging lights and running extension cords and generally just turning your home into the sparkling winter wonderland that everyone has grown fondly accustomed to over the years…

…and finally after all of that hard work and dedication, you flip on the finished product and load everyone into the car to check out all of the amazing displays that not only you, but also the rest of your neighbors have toiled so hard to create.  You pull out of your own driveway, oooh’ing and ahhh’ing at the twinkling array of colors that brightly decorate the view, taking a special interest in the life-size candy canes that trim the sidewalks and of course, that jolly, old St. Nick who waves from the rooftop, his bag of goodies already in hand.  And to think, this is only the beginning of an entire magical evening of touring your newly-decorated neighborhood, so excitedly you pull out into the street, wave goodbye to Santa, and begin to roll, noticing within only a matter of seconds that … well, some of your neighbors didn’t put up Christmas lights.

You drive past a few dark houses before eventually coming to one ornamented with a single row of lights around the perimeter of the house itself, then all is dark once again until you see another energetically-illuminated spectacle much like your own up ahead in the distance.  Several more dark houses line the road leading up to the beautiful splendor, and even as you slow to take in the dazzling display, the continuation of boredom to come seems to dampen your mood even before leaving the glow of those who did put in the effort.  This pattern continues street after street, neighborhood after neighborhood, and while all in all the night still shows you some pretty amazing displays of holiday spirit and your kids will likely be seeing spots from a couple of them for the next week, nonetheless you still can’t help thinking what your tour could’ve been like if everyone had put up their sparkling best in the name of the season.

Folks, if I had it my way, driving tours would never have to happen like this ever again.

That’s why I modestly propose that it be written into law that each and every house on the block must decorate for the holidays.  I don’t care if you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or even National Underdog Day – just whatever it is, get out there and don’t stop hanging lights until your electric meter can be used as a mixer for cranking out gingerbread dough!  Too many of us truly dedicated holiday enthusiasts are passive-aggressively slighted by our lazy neighbors each year as they merely smirk in the direction of our displays, all the while their own houses look as though they were smack dab in the middle of August, not December.  Quite frankly, the lack of celebratory continuity is embarrassing to all that is jolly and bright in this world, and it’s high time that someone did something about it … by force, if necessary…

My plan is simple – everyone has through the first week of December to have at least some variety of illuminated decorations up, even if you’ve still got angels to hang and dancing lights to synchronize.  You know what they say – a Christmas light display isn’t truly complete until Christmas is over and you start taking it down. But that gives you at least a good week and a half to start putting up a good, solid effort, which I certainly recommend you do because at that point the Lighting Enforcement Deputies (LEDs) will begin systematically patrolling neighborhoods all across the country and you’d better believe that they’ll be making a list … of any houses not maintaining an appropriately luminescent display between the posted touring hours of dusk and midnight.  If they do, Santa forbid, come across your home in a less than jolly predicament, expect warnings and fines and eventually possibly even your name going on The Naughty List, and we all know that no one wants that!

Furthermore, repeated offenses in display of a blatant disregard towards holiday spirit will result in your being evicted from your home until such time that you decide to take the holidays seriously and actually get up off your keister to decorate when you damn certain see lights going up on every other house around the block.  So don’t say we didn’t warn you…

Of course, we’ll also be happy to help those who might find themselves decoratingly challenged this time of year, whether you need to borrow a ladder, or maybe need some coupons to pick up some extra lights, or even professional assistance if you just don’t have the foggiest idea where to start!  Look no further because we’re here to offer up a helping hand in the name of good cheer with a spring in our step and a carol in our hearts because, well, ‘tis the season, don’t you know!  Really, there’s no excuse for a single house on the block to not be decorated during the most wonderful time of the year, so if you just haven’t quite gotten around to it yet or possibly were even thinking about maybe foregoing lights this year – that is, until reading this column and truly realizing your celebratory duty to your community, to Santa Claus, and even to yourself – then now’s the perfect time to get out there on that ladder and redeem your dignity one glowing strand at a time!

Seriously, you really don’t want to be on that Naughty List … trust me!