Saturday, December 5, 2009


Though I'm just not feeling the Christmas spirit this year, I'm gonna have to start soon. I'm going to have to dust off all the Thanksgiving stuff and put it away. I'm going to have to clear out space and drag boxes from the basement. I'm going to have to rearrange the normal decor and move the furniture. Most people would assume that all the fuss is for the benefit of the kids. Or for me. True, to some degree it is for the kids. And it's also true that I do generally love Christmas. But there is a bigger reason for all the fuss.

I married Clark Griswold.

My husband is like a kid in a candy store when he walks through the Christmas aisles at the store. If you can inflate it, slather it with cheer and illuminate it, he wants it. And our front yard display is easily the biggest in the neighborhood. Our electric bill suddenly spikes in December, but he never blinks an eye at it. It's the price we have to pay for our house to be seen from outer space.

Over the years we have collected a pretty large assortment of Christmas decorations, most of which are for the outside of the house. It takes up an entire corner of the basement. Every year I try to talk him into getting rid of some of it. Not an option. He repairs anything broken by the wind. One of the Santa decorations really has seen better days, but I'm sure he'll be out in the front yard in his usual spot.

It started when we got our first house. And when we got our first Santa. Back then, the inflatable yard decorations were still fairly new. And we had one. A giant glowing red beacon that we could see from a mile down the street. The neighbors started to give Tom a hard time about his huge Santa. That's when it all began.

He's perfected the necessary electrical arrangements that must be made to light a yard to the scale he wants. It took blowing out a lot of fuses the first few years, but he's got it down to a science now. There are lighting stations, timers and more extension cords and splicers than any one person should ever truly need.

Our house now has made things interesting for him. It has a huge front yard, more to cover with stuff, which he loves. Putting the actual lights on the house is more of a problem. The first floor of the house has 9 foot ceilings, and the peaks over the garage are pretty high. Even with a decent extension ladder, it's pretty intimidating to get up there. He has to get on the roof to put the ones over the porch. The first year we were here he got up there before realizing that he wasn't sure how he was going to get down. I thought for sure I'd have to be calling TJ to bring the fire truck to rescue his brother. But he managed to get down. Not without me laughing at him for a good long time though.

A lot of planning and work goes into Christmas around here. But, like in the movie, there is always that moment when he plugs in that last string of lights. When the fuses and circuit breakers are tested. Then magically all the lights come on. And he sits back and admires his work. Yes, the neighbors still give him a hard time. But that is part of the fun.

Once he gets it all set up, I'll be more in the Christmas spirit. How could I not be? I married Clark Griswold, and I love him.

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