The Ten Worst Christmas Decorating Traditions

Tis the season to eat, drink & be merry. Tis the season for mistletoe, stockings, Christmas cookies, and decorations. Christmas decorations, on the whole, are amazing. They transform regular neighborhoods into beautiful sparkly tributes to the season. It’s really hard to be in poor spirits when looking at a house all gussied up and looking like a gingerbread house that’s been secured with twinkle lights instead of frosting. However, nothing throws a wet blanket on the Christmas fueled campfire in my soul like poorly selected, haphazardly utilized, tacky decorations. Sure, there’s a certain amount of over-the-top cheese that comes with the territory, but when done well, there is a certain type of cheese that reads as kind of magical this time of year. There’s a very fine line, though, between glitzy Christmas wonderland and looking like a drunk redneck took all of Las Vegas, threw it in a blender, drank it and spewed the resulting emanations all over your yard. Here’s a list of all the christmas decorations that make me want to spew.

10. Fake Snow
I hail from New England, which is famous for a few key things: Lobster, the Boston Tea Party, Autumn foliage and snow. Snow is a big part of Christmas in the Northeast, and anywhere else a certain distance from the equator. One night you go to sleep and all you have is cold and dreary, but when you wake up the entire world seems to be covered in pure white glitter. It’s…one of my favorite things about living in Massachusetts.  But snow isn’t always a walk in the park. We hardened New Englanders sacrifice for the privilege of such breathtaking beauty: we have to shovel, we have to drive enormous cars, we have to bundle up like the freakin Michelin man. We have to put up  with looking at what snow looks like after a few days on the ground, and that shit ain’t pretty. People in Florida, or Texas, or Hawaii, or Auckland think they have the right to grab some white fluffy insulation-looking crap, staple it to their mantelpiece and call it a day. No dice, bro. If you want a snowy winter wonderland, then you best come correct. Strap on your Uggs, layer up the North Face, and show up on the corner of Boylston and Tremont with wind chills of minus 30 degrees and see if you still want that “White Christmas.”

9. Elf on the Shelf
I feel like adding this very in vogue tradition to this list is going to make me a social pariah, but hear me out. I’m not against kids, or trying to perpetuate childlike wonder, especially around the holidays. I’m just having a lot of trouble grasping the concept of an elf that is there to spy on your children on santa’s behalf, especially when these elves get into all kinds of shenanigans. I mean who the fuck is this holier than though son of a bitch elf to judge my kids when he’s spilling flour on the floor or painting the dog’s fur or coloring on the walls or whatever the frick all those guys get into while the family has been sleeping. And by the family I mean everyone except the mom because she’s clearly up at three AM dipping a doll’s feet in chocolate making tiny footprints all over the walls or some shit. Not only that, but after the kids are delighted at the antics of the elf, the mom has to clean it up in such a discreet way that doesn’t give away the fact that this elf is clearly just a doll. how the hell are they managing that? “No honey, the elf doesn’t mind when i grab him by the ankles and huck him bodily into the washing machine.” “No honey, he won’t drown, Santa’s magic keeps his tiny lungs from filling with Snuggle detergent.” And what if the kids find him in the rubbermaid bins full of Christmas ornaments during the year? I feel like it’s just playing with fire here. Plus, it’s kind of like Alien/Monster movies. It’s always way scarier when you never actually get a good look at the creature–what’s in your mind is a million times scarier than what any makeup artist or cgi designing guy could come up with. I feel like it’s the same way with this. I want my future kids to be able to concoct their own ideas of what Santa’s workshop elves look like, and not have those dreams prematurely dashed. I’d much rather have them find out in some kind of horribly traumatizing way that Santa’s not real. That’s a real Christmas tradition!

8. Those Creepy As Carolling Dolls
I hate these things. So much. I have always hated them, unlike several things on this list which I’ve only started hating since I’ve become old, jaded, and bitter. I always thought they were the ugliest fucking things on the planet, even as a child. One of my grandmother’s friends collected them and always displayed dozens of the damn things, and I would always wrinkle my nose and silently judge because even as a child I could not see the artistic or sentimental value of dolls whose facial expressions look like someone very recently shoved something up their minuscule asses/they were getting ready to give each other blow jobs. These are probably also the only “classic” Christmas decoration that I hate. Apparently they have been around since the 1960s, and how they lasted this long. What’s worse, is each of these dolls costs around 70$. Seriously. And I imagine that’s only for new ones, not like classic or special or limited edition ones. That means to get a few carolers, because really, one is just pathetic, you’d need to drop about 280 bucks. Here’s an idea, buy your family some nice gifts instead, or spend that money on food for your dinner. Or better yet, but some non perverted decorations.

7. Anything Inflatable
I feel like it should go without saying that inflatable decorations fly in the face of good taste, but sadly this is not so. Year after year it seems like more and more of these damn things plague my eyeballs. They’re tacky and I hate them. They’re always malfunctioning too, flopping pathetically on the lawn in a puddle of terrible plastic. What is that stuff, anyway? It looks like the stuff 80s windsuits were made out of. Why anyone felt the need to bring that garbage back into the forefront of society is beyond me. I also can’t even imagine how much power they suck up through their ever whirring, noise pollution creating, crappy fan mechanisms. Some of these damn things are enormous, too, like someone shoved an air pump up Santa’s ass and used enough PSI to inflate the whole damn north pole. There’s also a certain amount of laziness to them. Throw up a few of these guys and suddenly you give the illusion of having “decorated.” This kind of brings me to my next pet peeve.

6. People who just throw Shit everywhere
These are the people who really play it fast and loose with the word “decrating.” These are also the people who stress for days about “entertaing” and then throw some Ritz crackers and a near-frozen rectangular prism of cracker barrel cheddar on a paper plate.  I really can’t understand why these people even bother decorating. It looks like crap, always. Crap is actually a bit generous of a term for what this looks like. It’s not festive; it’s not pretty. Why bother? Do you really think you’re fooling anyone? “Wow, I love the shabby chic approach to your Christmas light tangle!” said no one ever. These people need to just give up. Last february when you finally got around to taking your decorations down you were too lazy to roll the lights up nicely and now it’s time to pay the piper. If you can’t be bothered to spend 15 minutes untangling your twinkle light strands then I really don’t think you should inflict your laziness on the rest of your neighborhood.

5. “Hilarious” Decorations
Here’s another thing I don’t understand: prank or allegedly funny decorations. The one in the picture is one very specific example but there’s tons: crash landed Santas, mooning Santa butts, reindeer or snowman “poop” favors or kitchen props. It’s just in poor taste and really shouldn’t be funny to anyone. I love a crude joke as much as the next gal, believe you me, but some things are sacred. Christmas is meant to be a special sentimental time of year, and that gets obscured enough by present buying and commercialized BS, we don’t need to put any more nails in the coffin of sentimentality, people. Are we really so immature as a culture that we collectively need to use humor as a defense mechanism against sharing a nice holiday with our families? Heavy. Also, awkwardly violent decorations like the one featured above are really selfish in nature. Do the people that construct these affronts think about who has to look at them? Bare with me, because I know this is a cliche, But seriously, WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN? If I had small children who still tolerated me enough to let me drag them around town on freezing cold evenings to look at lights and decorations, I wouldn’t want them to have to look at some jack-ass’s idea of a hilarious joke like the one in the above picture. Not cool people, not cool.

4. Lights that Don’t Match At all
This is one of the most irksome practices of christmas decorating. Lights are strewn haphazardly, yet at the same time with some kind of deliberate purpose. These people are different from the people who don’t bother untangling their lights. The one better thing about these new Christmas crime perpetrators is  that they do get into the spirit of the holiday, and I won’t knock that. However, this type of  horrendous eye sore is equally offensive to anyone with taste. Lights should match. Period. I’m not saying they all have to be one color, but there should be some kind of color scheme, some rhyme or reason, some method to the madness. Most specifically, I hate when people use different types of multicolored strands. It looks so bad that I can’t understand why more people aren’t more embarrassed  If your drapes were neon plaid, and your couch was classic floral, people would think you’d gone out of your tree, yet for some reason when your door is rimmed in classic white, one of your bushes is blinking spasmodically enough to send the neighbor’s dog into an epileptic fit, and you have multicolored lights strung around your lamp post, and a DIFFERENT KIND of muliticolored lights on your walkway, everyone thinks you’re totally sane.  What kind of sense does that make?

3. People Who Indiscriminately Cover EVERYTHING with Lights
Similar to the above offenders, these jamokers are an enormous tumor to any street they happen to plague. Their entire property becomes a beacon, that, at the very least of my list of grievances, must waste an absolute fuckton of power. On top of that, they are a heinous eyesore. And not only that, but it demonstrates a complete lack of originality and original thought. Like, there is no personality to these fucking set ups, Like there was no opinion, no decision making whatsoever.  And I can’t even imagine how much all that shit costs to buy. Tackiness does not come cheap, and no, the irony of that is not lost on me. All these plastic snowmen, and spastic christmas lights that strobe in time to your Christmas carols cross many a pretty penny. These kinds of horrendous displays always make me physically wince as I walk down the street. It should not be almost as bright as daylight during the night time. It confuses the birds.

2. Plastic or Otherwise Tacky Nativity Scenes
Now, I’m all for really classic Christmas decorations, regardless of my personal religious affiliations. It is Christmas, after all (regardless of Jesus’s actual brithday and/or the celebration’s pagan roots). However, I really hate tacky looking Nativity scenes. I feel like it completely defeats the fucking purpose to have a chipped plastic jesus in your yard, looking like he has nothing but Satan in his eyes. Seriously, look at those eyes. They are dead inside. There is no Holy Spirit in there my friend. None. Also, there is something not right about inflateable or plastic jesuses. First of all, it’s creepy. Second of all, it’s just kind of…disrespectful. If you care enough about church and jesus to put his whole extended family onto your freakin front lawn, you should care enough that he doesn’t look like he’s been through the garbage disposal. He’s not jesus from the block, people.

1. Unnaturally Colored Christmas Trees
First of all, if you need me to explain why this is terrible, I hate you. But sadly, these items are still sold, so I feel I must. These are the epitome of trashy decorations. I understand if you don’t want to use a real tree, because it kind of bums me out to see all those dead trees lying on the side of the road after christmas (and by kind of bums me out I mean I actually cry when I see this); I’m not knocking the fake tree as a concept. But I really don’t understand where the decision to make trees into crazy colors came from. I mean, maybe I could make my peace with white or silver, because those are at LEAST christmas colors. Who the hell decided to start making them pink? Seriously. I want a name. I want a name so I can go to his house and paint other things in his life pink that have no business being that color. Like maybe his dog. Or his wife, and see how the fuck he likes it.

So there you have it folks, in case you needed another reason not to invite me over for the holidays: more shit I will criticize around your house.