Wednesday, December 24, 2014

When NOT to take down your Christmas decorations

I assume your Christmas decorations are up.  It's Christmas Eve.  And Merry Christmas Eve, by the way.   But the question is always:  when should you take them down? 

This is my friend Kevin’s house in the residential San Fernando Valley. He’s Jewish but loves to celebrate the colors and lights of the season. This tradition began (as most things do) because his girlfriend at the time really loved Christmas decorations.

There’s not another house on his block even remotely as elaborate. I bet you can see Kevin's house from space.

Most people take down their Christmas decorations after the first of the year. Certainly by Memorial Day.

But I guess if you take them down earlier you face dire consequences.

A couple of years ago Kevin made the mistake of striking his on December 26. This caused an absolute shitstorm with his neighbors. Their wrath knew no seasonal bounds. Kevin’s house was egged, he was left threatening notes, and people he didn’t even know called to scream at him.

But the coup de grace was this: His neighbor from across the street, who he never talks to and has no relationship with whatsoever, called him.

KEVIN: Hello.

TINA: Kevin, this is Tina from across the street. WHAT THE FUCK WERE YOU THINKING?!

KEVIN: Excuse me?

TINA: Why did you take down your Christmas decorations? Are you INSANE?

KEVIN: Um, Christmas is over.

TINA: Yes, but I have a big New Year’s Eve party every year and one of the big attractions is that everybody likes to look at your decorations. And now you’ve RUINED MY PARTY!

I mean, how do you possibly respond to that other than sending invitations for their next New Year’s Eve bash to the Hells Angels?

Now to review: Out of the goodness of his heart (the girlfriend has long since moved on to Tiger Woods or whomever) Kevin puts up the decorations on his own time and at his own expense.

And this is how he’s rewarded.

Kevin, I wouldn’t entirely take down your holiday decorations this year. I would remove all the lights and the big snow globe like you normally do but I would hire a Department Store Santa to sit on your front porch with a fucking bazooka. A few blasts from Rudolph the Red Nose Rocket Launcher and by God, your neighbors will once again rekindle that holy spirit of Christmas.

But wait -- there's more.  

Last year there was a power outage in his neighborhood and all the neighbors blamed HIM.  His decorations overloaded the system.    More angry emails and calls.  Then it was discovered that (a) it was a grid problem miles away, and (b) Kevin uses his own generator.   So again, nice way to thank somebody for providing enjoyment for YOU.

May you have a wonderful Christmas Eve... unless you live on Kevin's block.  


VincentS said...

This is my favorite blog posting of your, Ken. Thanks for re-posting it.

MikeK.Pa. said...

Took a ride around my township last Saturday night to see Christmas lights and amazed at 1) how many people do little or no outside decorating and 2) the ones that do seem to do it haphazardly with no color scheme or theme. But, at least their heart is in the right place.

Traditionally, outdoor Christmas decorations stay up through at least New Year's. Many keep them up through the Epiphany.

More important than the outside decorations is the Christmas tree. I switched to an artificial tree last year over the strenuous objectives of my grown children, neither of whom ever watered the live ones. After back-to-back Christmases in which the live tree died (we buy the day after Thanksgiving) and I had to un-decorate the tree, exchange it for a new one and decorate it, the decision to go Balsam Hill was easy (it's a beautiful tree). In the past we had Christmas trees that were still as fresh as the day they were cut when we took them down in early January.

On another note, Christmas Eve is a special day. Love to watch all the old Christmas-themed shows. Today Cozi and Antenna are showing many (how often do you get to see CAPTAIN GALLANT AND THE FOREIGN LEGION?). However, I'm disappointed that TBS or TVLand don't run Christmas-themed shows from the 70s and 80s. Was looking forward to seeing MARRIED WITH CHILDREN'S "It's a Bundyful Life," WING'S "All About Christmas Eve," and my all-time favorite JUST SHOOT ME'S "The Finch That Stole Christmas."

Regarding Kevin, maybe he could sell Tina his decorations, or better yet, Tina could get her own. Merry Christmas to all.

YEKIMI said...

Not a Christmasy type person. The Grinch took lessons from me. If I was the type to put up Christmas decorations they would all be giving the finger to everyone passing by.I'd probably even have Frosty the Snowman exposing his snowballs. Neighbors bitched at me one year because I was the only one who didn't put up lights. Told them if they wanted to pay my electric bill I'd be happy to put up lights. The electric company thanks those of you who do by sending you an electric bill bigger than the entire national budget of Guyana. I don't need the little dial on my meter spin ng so fast that it exceeds the speed limit on the Autobahn.

Jim in Cincinnati said...

My response to Tina would have been, "Then put up your own fucking decorations!"

Covarr said...

The heck of it is, Christmas isn't over on Dec. 26. Traditionally (and largely forgotten these days), the twelve days of Christmas are the days following Christmas day, not preceding it. I like to take down my decorations on January 6 for that reason.

Joe said...

The official Christmas season does not end until January 6. I usually take my stuff down after New Year's.

Anonymous said...

My answer to Tina: I took them down because you didn't invite me to your party.

Mike said...

Dear Mr Levine,
Please ask your friend Kevin to make sure his lights are on all day tomorrow. They are an important landmark used by the guidance system of our missiles on their trajectory to Hollywood.
Seasons' greetings, Workers' Utopia of North Korea.

DBenson said...

What semi-amuses me is the continuing popularity of leaf-blower-powered inflatables. They range from Macy's parade grade to misshapen snowmen (yes, you can misshape a snowman). A popular one this year is Darth Vader in a Santa hat (really) leaning on a Death Star with colored lights inside. It plays the Imperial March from the movies (also really).

Understandably, nobody wants to keep those fans running 24/7. So they evidently plug them into the same timers as the lights. Result: By day you see these deflated pools of plastic everywhere, inviting you to speculate on what the heck they are when erect.

A few years ago a popular one was a shivering snowman with an expression suggesting discomfort. When deflated, you'd just see the this crumpled heap with a face expressing horror. Was tempted to get one and never actually inflate it.

Anonymous said...

The Kevin/Tina bit should be included in your next script for a sitcom.Merry Christmas!
Janice B

LouOCNY said...

I have a online friend who is a HUGE Peanuts fan and Christmas is her all time favorite season. Her house is very tastefully decorated in and out - she could give anyone at House Beautiful a run for their money.

As I said,she is a big time Peanuts/Snoopy fanatic, and she of course, has an inflatable Snoopy in a Santa suit. Well, this year, the Snoopster would not quite inflate fully, and looked like he was just a touch wobbly, so she post a FB of it and said, "Looks like Snoopy got into the egg nog!"..lots of FB chuckles, so she posted a follow up of Snoopy, this time holding a bottle of Jack: "I hid the egg nog, but looks like he found the Jack!"

Merry Christmas all!

Diane D. said...

I've lived in a lot of mostly small towns and in every one of them there was one house that went completely insane with lights and decorations. It caused a parade of cars down those streets every night. There was a suburb of Kansas City, Mo that had to turn the street into a one-way each year for the duration of the Christmas season, a sign in the yard invited people to get out of their cars and wonder around, and there was a bucket asking for donations to pay the electric bill!

The huge picture window of the house did not have the blinds drawn and part of the "show" was just watching this family go about the business of their lives, watching TV, reading the newspaper, eye. What on earth could they have been thinking?

Anonymous said...

Ken Quipped:

"I mean, how do you possibly respond to that other than sending invitations for their next New Year’s Eve bash to the Hells Angels?"

Meanwhile, in the back room of an old biker bar in Oakland...

Rat Fink: Hey! Curly! Lookit this! Ken mentioned us in his blog!

Curly Joe: Get the fuckouttahere! Holy shit!

Rat Fink: Hey, we could get our membership drive going with this! Link his post on our twitter!

Curly Joe: Aw, fuck! I forgot the fucking password. Fuck.

Rat Fink: Aw, shit.

Curly Joe: Fuck.


Rat Fink: Dude... no disrespect, but I think we need a new membership drive guy.

Curly Joe: Then YOU do it, motherFUCKER!!

Rat Fink: Dude... it's just... nevermind.

Curly Joe: EXACTLY!!

VP81955 said...

I've never owned a house, but if I did, here's how I'd do things:

* Remove specific secularized Christmas decorations (Santa, reindeer, etc.) a few days after Christmas, by New Year's day at the latest.

* Remove religious Christmas decorations (such as a manger) and any general Christmas lights by the Epiphany (Jan. 6, the twelfth day of Christmas).

D. McEwan said...

It's a simple rule: Christmas decorations should come down on the first weekend after January 1.

My Scots dad used to say: "It's a sure sign of summer when a Scotsman throws his Christmas tree away."

Carla said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jeffro said...

This is more of a guideline rather than a rule: Decorations should go up the day before Advent and be taken down the day after Epiphany. But anybody should be free to do whatever they please with their own decorations.

What Tina should do, is take a photograph of Kevin's decorations, enlarge the prints and paste it to her windows, so that when she has her precious New Year's party, her poor guests can look at that.

john said...

Nice decorations for this christmas! Happy holidays!

Anonymous said...

Hey Ken,


Happy New Year over there, --LL

John Hammes said...

Thank you MikeK.Pa., Covarr, Joe, and VP81955 ... December has become an unbelievably stressful month, it is a relief to remember the real Christmas Season ( as opposed to the fake retail Christmas Season ), and to celebrate accordingly.
Celebrating that is, by eating, sleeping, more eating, more sleeping, watching college bowl games ... while eating and sleeping.

Far more relaxing, to say the least !

Thank you Ken for a great blog... the gift that keeps on giving.

William Donges said...

I think I would be moving. His neighbors sound entirely like asshats. 10 Gallon Asshats.

the1observant said...

January 6 would be the appropriate day to retire Christmas decorations, but it's your power and your lights, do whatever you feel is right. I don't celebrate Epiphany, but I enjoy putting smiles on others faces, so I keep them up until the 6th. They're LED bulbs anyway, doesn't cost much to burn them.