I believe that the time has come for a moratorium on Holiday Decorations after the first week of the year. All those lights and snowflakes and Santas and menorahs need to go back into the box until next year. You know who you are. I understand that I am impressing my personal standards on the community at large. I put up my Christmas lights the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and they all come down by the second day of the New Year.
Why? Because it's cruel to keep them up. One of the simple joys I have is making the turn onto my street in the week before Christmas and seeing my yard aglow. It reminds me of the coming of the holiday frolic that I climbed all those trees and strung all those cables to celebrate. The lights seem to burn a little brighter as the last week of December brings the year to a close. And then it's time to pull the plug.
I blame Elmo. Back when my son was in the demographic for that screechy red thing, we watched "Elmo Saves Christmas." If you haven't had the chance to take in all the Muppet-y joy that is this slice of PBS goodness, it centers around Elmo's misguided wish that every day could be Christmas. Aside from the obvious consequence of nearly running Santa Claus into a cardiac episode, it takes the special-ness of the season. Christmas in July is a great way to sell refrigerators, but all of that merry happiness gets a little tired after months and months of green and red, not to mention the toll it takes on tundra dwellers like snowmen and reindeer. I suppose you might expect as much from a puppet who only refers to himself in the third person.
As I rode to school this week, looking at the intermittent displays of cheer that continue to remind me of the twelve months I have to churn through until the twinkling lights and the manger scenes are meaningful once again, I came up with a solution. We could fine people for keeping their icicle lights hanging from their eaves year round. Nothing too Scrooge-like, just a pittance or two to remind us all of the time. At the end of the year these funds can be used to help feed the homeless, or toys for tots without them. Or we could just save it all up for one big, tasteful display for next year. Well at least you can unplug them until next November.