Announcer: Welcome to the First Annual Decoration Derby! The rules are that all contestants must address their compulsion to decorate their houses in the spirit of the season to the utmost of their capabilities, utilizing all their supplies, within the time allotted. I’m your host, and here are our contestants:
House 1: Family of Five. They say many hands make light work, but not so much when six of those hands are under the age of 10, am I right?
House 2: Widow whose children never visit. Lots of time and money on her hands – I’ll say no more.
House 3: Let’s call them The Scrooges. A couple who hates Christmas, hates Hanukkah, hates Kwanzaa, hates New Year’s – you name it, they oppose it. Not quite sure why they’re even in this competition.
In the middle of the street, Santa Claus raises the starting cannon – it fires a shower of snowflakes – and they’re off! Family of Five immediately becomes hopelessly ensnarled in the miles of lights for the outside of the house and the tree – their best course of action may be to literally cut their losses and go buy some light nets. Widow painstakingly arranges her miniatures sets of winter villages and railroad stations while simultaneously hanging ornaments on the tree – with her feet! The Scrooges… seem to be enjoying cups of hot cocoa in their rocking chairs while watching the snow fall outside. Interesting strategy; we’ll see where this leads.
Back at House 1, Dad has been completing numerous 10-yard dashes all over the front yard as he frantically plants reindeer, Nativity scenes, Santa and his elves, and candy canes randomly on every patch of lawn available. He may have some points deducted for not noticing the Halloween tombstone he placed in the middle of a caroling snow family, but that’s for the judges to decide.
Meanwhile, inside of House 1, Mom has an efficient assembly line of tree decorators with eldest and middle child, also while supervising youngest child who is assigned to string garland wherever possible, arrange stuffed seasonal characters on all counter and table tops, and hang the hand-made school projects on whatever wall space is left. Even the family dog must play his part, in being dressed in an ugly sweater with antlers on his ears. He doesn’t seem to mind, though, as he nibbles on the dropped popcorn unbeknownst to his family. I would not want to be around to clean all this up. They have a good pace, but the combination of crooked ornaments, potty breaks, tears, missing and broken decorations, and cussing are all serving to eat away at any advantage in time and completeness they had.
At this point, Widow has completed the tree and miniature communities but insists upon hand-stringing popcorn, assembling nutcrackers, and covering the entire house in fake snow. I think the real snow happening right now would do just nicely, but what do I know.
As for The Scrooges – my goodness, are they doing Yoga? I really think they don’t even know what is going on around them.
And – Time! Let’s follow the judges as they visit each house.
House 1: The out-of-holiday front lawn decoration and Dad strung up amongst the lights on the roof are point deductions, tsk tsk. The haphazard condition of the decorations inside the house, on the tree, and on the dog also detract from the final score, in that they show that quantity rather than quality was valued. However, the overall layout is aesthetically pleasing and the kids were cooperative and well-behaved for the most part. Final score: 8 out of 10.
House 2: A winter wonderland greets the eye in Widow’s Ice Palace. Some of the items in the miniature villages clearly do not function as well as they must have in winters past, but the frozen landscape complete with the central heating turned off both make for a nice effect and demonstrate Widow’s dedication. Final score: 9 out of 10.
House 3: The Scrooges have placed a single candle in the window for their child overseas serving in the armed forces. Since this technically meets all criteria, final score is 10 out of 10.
There you have it, folks: Keep the season in your own way and you can’t go wrong. Thank you for joining us in the First Annual Decoration Derby; now excuse us while we attempt to rescue Dad from the roof.