1. we do not live close to our extended families and so are free of familial obligations,
2. we are too pragmatic to be nostalgic, and
3. we generally can't recall what we did the previous Christmas.
The one constant that we have in our household is the annual Tense Discussion About Christmas Lights.
From last year's posts it should be apparent that I have eclectic taste when it comes to Christmas decor. I like kitschy, sparkly things as much as the next person. But only inside my house. I prefer understated outdoor decoration. Ideally we'd hang a few ornaments in the front window and put a single spray of foliage by the door with a nice red ribbon. However, my husband likes his Christmas lights. If you are going to get up on a ladder and do work on the house do something more permanent -- like fixing the bathroom fan!, I have whinged at him more than once. Then hidden the ladder and the lights. Me behaving like an asshole is another tradition.
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Here's how I assess your Christmas lights (the lower the number the better):
Lights that flash: +120 points
Different strands of lights that flash at different rates: +220 points/string and +1340 points/every epileptic fit induced by your light display
All lights are a single colour: +20 points/string
The entire colour spectrum is represented, BUT it's apparent you had a particular design goal or made a conscious plan beforehand: +30 points/string
Inflatable character: +75 points/character
Inflatable characters are turned off and slumped on the ground as if Santa brought the gift of the Rapture to all the good boys and girls: +175 points/character
Inflatable character is a snow globe and the character is obscured by frost inside the bubble: +15 points/snow globe (but only because I am taking pity on you as a denizen of a cold climate)
Icicle lights: +25 points/string
Icicle lights that were purchased in 1997 and have never been taken down because they're such a pain to store: +754 points/every neighbour who hates you
Lights are strung over the palings of a fence: +5 points (I love this look)
Home-made plywood cut outs of trademarked cartoon characters: +15 points/character
Home-made plywood cut outs of trademarked cartoon characters that are done so poorly it looks like they are suffering from Bell's Palsy: +167 points/character
Light display consists of a few sad net lights strewn on shrubbery: +50 points (WHY BOTHER!?)
Lights are strung casually and asymmetrically on lower branches of a tree and you obviously are only doing it so the neighbours don't assume you are a Jehovah's Witness: +50 points and a BONUS of 8 editions of The Watchtower
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