Sunday, December 11, 2016

Bright Lights - A Christmas Tale

This is not a tale of religion, so don't turn away. This is, as the saying hanging in the kitchen of one of my dear friend's announces, a story of "excess is best".

As we drive down the block, I am struck not so much by the size of the houses, but the lights that make the night sky bright. To my left or right I am given constant reminder of the season at hand. Though no snow appears on the ground, I am certain that Christmas is nigh.

But whatever brightness emanates here, it soon seems merely the darkest of evenings as the road bends to reveal the house I am soon to enter. Not only is the yard, front and back, saturated with glowing and moving figures announcing that Santa would soon be heading down the chimney, but if the radio was turned to 107.7 FM, a Christmas song, followed by a series of jokes, could be heard all emanating from a continuous looped broadcast from the house.

Walking across the yard, the window in the front was showing a cartoon on its shade. The senses were assaulted and overwhelmed by holiday cheer.

But if one were to stop here and never step foot inside, it would be like only seeing the Mona Lisa from the nose up. For if the outside of this home announced it's intention to celebrate, the inside screamed it.

It was more museum, more exhibit than one could almost imagine. Room upon room filled from stem to stern with every possibility. Santa climbing up and down a ladder in perpetual motion. Santa on a zip line, with the clap of a hand, descending from the sky, and with a second clap reversing his course. Two Christmas trees, each festooned with seemingly a thousand ornaments,  little treats to be discovered one by one as the eye tried desperately to take in all the information and convey it to an overwhelmed brain.

There were winter villages composed in the most particular detail, trains moving up and down the hills,  a tram carrying it's occupants heavenward. The enormity of what lay before us, one room more intricately conceived than the next, is almost impossible to report.

And in the midst were the revelers, intentionally dressed in some of the worst looking holiday sweaters imaginable, a wink and a nod of the head to deliciously bad taste.

For me, who grew up in a neighborhood where Christmas trees were hard to find, and Christmas lights were few, it was as if I had woken in a Disney, or more accurately, a National Lampoon movie. Think Chevy Chase on steroids. 

There is the moment when over the top is no longer in the worst of taste but the best. And this house, this evening, this extraordinary testament, was nothing short of the best. Excess in all its wonder and glory.

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