Tuesday, December 22, 2009

When NOT to take down your Christmas decorations

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.

Now the question always arises, when do you take down your Christmas decorations? For most people the answer is usually after the first of the year. Certainly by Memorial Day.

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

Last year 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.


YEKIMI said...

I catch hell from my neighbor's because I DON'T put up Christmas lights or decorations. They usually shut up when I tell them as soon as they start paying MY electric bill I'll be more than happy to put up a bazillion lights. I'm not going to make the power company any richer than the bastards already are.

CrackerJacker said...

Wow. Just wow. I'm sorry, but if the "big attraction" for a party, is the decorations on the house ACROSS THE STREET, and you think it's your job to take it out on that person because it makes you look bad, then just hold your breath. And keep holding it.

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

...I knew it was time to give up the Decoration Mania when I found myself after Xmas on the roof of my three-story home, tied at the waist by an extension cord held at the other end by my drunk brother-in-law who sat on the peak as I leaned over the edge unhooking holiday lights. I may have had a couple of toddies, too, come to think of it. And, I don't want to think of it.

Nino Mojo said...

Actually it's "coup de grĂ¢ce".

"Coup de gras" would mean "strike of fat". :

Tim W. said...

The next year, I would put up no decorations and only a sign that said: "I'm not putting up decorations this year because people can be real dicks. Merry Christmas."

Jim, Cheers Fan said...

"Coup de gras" would mean "strike of fat". :

So getting yelled at by neighbors you barely know is like getting hit in the face with a bag of beef suet.

Anonymous said...

Next year, I'd put 'em up on December 1st ... and take 'em down on December 24th. Merry Christmas to all.

-Lostboy- said...

his neighbors are jerks

Buttermilk Sky said...

I thought the neighbor was going to say "My guests use your lights to find the house." That would at least be practical. Kevin needs to invest in a professional sound system and the Chipmunks' Christmas album. The neighborhood will pay him to turn it off.

Mike Barer said...

Kevin has a psycho for a neighbor.

Rory L. Aronsky said...

Can he fire those neighbors and recast them? ;)

WV: bersep - How "berserk" will be pronounced in the Idiocracy future.

Roger Owen Green said...

Well, since they are Christmas lights, she shouldn't put them up until Christmas Day and take 'em down on Epiphany. Wonder how the neighbors would like THAT?

Ref said...

He's lucky Garrison Keillor doesn't live nearby. Keillor hates it when people who aren't Christians just like he is make any attempt to participate in Christmas traditions.

D. McEwan said...

I love that his decorations were the big attraction at A PARTY HE WAS NOT INVITED TO! That's some balls!

He should try what I suggested to the management of the building in whic I live (who ALWAYS over-decorate for Easter, the 4th of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas): put up all the Christmas decorations in October. Take them down on November 1. Then in December, put up an equally-elaborate set of Halloween decorations, and leave them up intil January 2nd, and NEVER EXPLAIN.

My half-Scottish Dad used to say: "It's a sure sign of summer when a Scotsman throws his Christmas tree away."

This is a song parody I wrote ten years ago, that I perform when singing in clubs every December, to the tune of "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas":

Too Much Christmas
By Douglas McEwan

It’s beginning to look too much like Christmas,
Everywhere you go.
Thanksgiving was yesterday,
And now the streets look so gay,
That your eyes will blur, and you’ll get vertigo.

It’s beginning to look too much like Christmas,
Gets worse when it’s dark.
Now, I really don’t like to grouse,
But, my God, my neighbor’s house,
Looks like Disney’s park.

Horrible tinsel, and way too much chintz’ll
Make everyone wish they were dead.
By far the worst folly are trees looking jolly,
When all of their leaves have been shed.
And I will grant another Santa
Fills me up with dread!

It’s beginning to look too much like Christmas,
Please gouge out my eyes
You’ll soon see a Yule log,
Blazing at the synagogue.
An elf robot? My brain lobotomize!

It’s beginning to look too much like Christmas,
Soon my brain will split.
I hate to sound so gruff,
But I’ve already had enough,
Of This Yule Bullshit

blogward said...

Merry Xmas to you and your family, Ken, and everybody else who visits this fine blog.

Anonymous said...

"When do you take decorations down?" Here in Minnesota it's at least after all the ice and snow melts off the roof, which *might* be after Memorial Day.

Dana King said...

I'd leave the decorations in place, but I wouldn't turn them on for New Year's Eve. Passive aggression has its place.

Unknown said...

I think the next door neighbors should have "ditto" on their house in neon lights. That's what I saw one time on a cute email! P.S. I know the Kevin you are talking about and the display is so spectacular that I bet the astronauts in space use it as their beacon for finding Hollywood!
Patti B

Chip said...

Reminds me of a song ...


A. Buck Short said...

“WRONG!” Everybody knows the correct answer to how many days the lights stay up is 12. It’s in the song.

OK, I don’t have any idea how Kevin knew about it, but I’m guessing his Chhhhhhristmas (Yiddish transliteration) thing is just a back end, make good deal for our friend Anna Barbarino. When she came over as a child with her family from Sicily, they had a Chanukah menorah in their living room window for the first 3 Christmases. They had moved to a Jewish neighborhood in W. Roxbury, MA and just thought,”Well, I guess this is how they celebrate Christmas on our particular street in W. Roxbury.”

Now, Kevin could explain that he takes everything down on the 26th is because the woman across the street is playing with half a deck. But if the neighbor is anything like I imagine her to be, here’s a nice explanation of why the decorations had to come down that least might leave her speechless: “Well we just sold our house to a family from Compton and they wanted time to put up their KwanzaaLights.”

Another cute touch would have been to appease her the next 2 weeks, by replacing the lights with an inflatable sex doll nativity scene. Just think what imaginative possibilities the “gifts” might hold.

The real question is, Ken, why are you letting Kevin upstage you on the Christmas excess? It’s not his holiday that’s called the “festival of lights” – hyperbolically Bacchanalian though it may sound. What you need to do, at least for one year is to hire the set decoration swing crew from any of the Christmas episodes of Gilmore Girls or something, and have yours installed professionally.

Only I guess being professionals, you’d have to bring it all in with theguilds. The way to make sure the job lasts 12 days that the lights must be wired in series rather than parallel circuitry. That way, when one bulb blows they all go out – and you have to haul in another truckload. Hey, at least it’s a series

And I believe at least one of the unions has a standard contract for something like this.

A. Buck Short said...

(I can’t believe I set a 4a.m. call, just to be able to finish this. You know how it is when you get something in your head and the entire prefrontal cortex doesn’t kick in until around 9:30.)


On the first day of Chhhhhhristmas
The union gave to me
A contract for the Levines.

On the econd day of Chhhhhhristmas
The union gave to me
An overtime allowance
In our contract for the Levines.

On the third day of Chhhhhhristmas
The union gave to me
30 burly drivers
And a wet work allowance
In our contract for the Levines.

On the fourth day of Chhhhhhristmas
The union gave to me
4 cargo vans
3 nifty grip trucks
2 camera cars
And invaded hours
In our contract for the Levines.

fifth day of Chhhhhhristmas
The union gave to me
----- 5 LIM-OU-SINES.
4 mobile homes
3 extended cabs
2 more RVs
And $1,000 buck per diems
In our contract for the Levines.

On the sixth day of Chhhhhhristmas
The union gave to me
6 honeywagons
----- 5 B-F-Ts.
4 generators
3 electric trucks
2 hair-and-makeup trailers
With NO early calls
In our contract for the Levines.

On the seventh day of Chhhhhhristmas
The union gave to me
7 smokin’ semis
6 days of set up
4 picture cars
3 mobile kitchens
2 wardrobe vans
Short turnaround
In our contract for the Levines.

On the eighth day of Chhhhhhristmas
The union gave to me
In our contract for the Levines.
Ate the whole per diem.
7 course dinner
Sick to my stomach
For-get craft service
3 hundred cups of coffee
2 months on sick leave
(Won arbitration)
Of our contract with the Levines.

On the ninth day of Chhhhhhristmas
The union gave to me
9 supercabs
8 great Suburbans
7 Ryder rentals.
60 miles per hour
4 on the floor
3 hours in traffic
2 hours late
Night work allowance
In our contract for the Levines.

On the tenth day of Chhhhhhristmas
The union gave to me
10 ten-ton trailers
9 tow zone spaces
Eighteen wheelers
7 parking vi-o-lations
Sic the steward on ‘em
4 all we know
They didn’t see the notice
2 move the trucks
1 at a time
In our contract for the Levines.

On the eleventh day of Chhhhhhristmas
The union gave to me
11 stand-by drivers
10 who were licensed
9 flatbed semis
8 miles per gallon
7 on the highway
6 in the city
4 what they tried
3 times a years
2 cut emissions
Didn’t get included
In our contract for the Levines.

And on the TWELFTH day of Chhhhhhristmas
The union gave to me
12 diesel Macks
11 Peterbilts
10 GMCs
9 conversion vans
8 Silverados
With flatbed liners
No Mitsubishis
4 all of this
We’ll drive the trucks
All the way to Westwood

Everybody dance.


J.J. said...

Me? I take down my decorations the same day DWP calls and says, "Hey, Deadbeat, you haven't paid your utility bill, we're turning out the lights."

And I suggest when Tina next calls Kevin that he walk over and hand her his electric bill and say,"Having a party? Thanks for inviting me. Or not. Oh, and ask your guests to chip in a pay this, will ya?" You want non-solar light, ya gotta pay the piper.

pubpeople said...

If that's the highlight of the woman's party, it doesn't say a lot about her skills as a hostess!

Anonymous said...

Next year, Kevin should simply light am Menorah.

Chazz said...

There's an analogy here about people who hate on a blog...which nobody forces them to read...which provides them entertainment and edification...for free.

But it escapes me.

Love your blog. Happy holidays! (But isn't every day of your fabulous life a holiday, sir?)

Chip said...


Well, this isn't an analogy, but it just so happens I have a song for that, too!!

Douchebag Brigade

Okay, I'll stop now.

-bee said...

I was visiting relative in the suburbs and learned that people are now paying professionals to put up lights for them - some of the houses had little signs in the front saying "lights by..."

Struck me as odd and a bit depressing.

Luxury Apartments Lady said...

This made me laugh so much, I've never heard of taking decorations down too early being a problem at all!