Gaudy holiday decor revives flagging humor

I was afraid that my sense of the ridiculous had vanished. Not one solitary strike on the old humorous bone had sounded in ages, did anyone notice? Did you raise a glass in toast to the passing? I mean, life, with all its wobbling and detours, usually provides ample fertilizer to sprout a germ of an idea, which often requires weeding before public viewing. Yet even with regular disappointments at which I could poke and prod heartily, yet a serious mood prevailed.

Then what to my wandering eyes should appear but one blown-up Santa and one sagging reindeer. Saved! That ho, ho hokey harbinger of Christmas present. I was cheered and relieved, inflated even. And doesn’t that fulfill their purpose?

Since that first sighting, I’ve seen more colorful plastic rising and exhaling, including one puddling mass of former glory lying vanquished right out in the open.

Whenever I write about something of which I know very little ... I get the urge to dig deeper as a nod to real journalists. In this case, I shouldn’t have been astonished to learn the direction in which some folks’ idea of creativity runs. Christmas decorations sure have changed since I stood below my stocking. I enjoy all the lights and greenery, but I still love a solitary star.

I hesitated before clicking on some Googled titles like “Blow Up Santa,” fearing that it just might be someone’s idea of a joke to well, you know, make a sick show against commercialism. I had a small idea of what I was letting myself in for, but I care about my readers so onward I clicked — only to have my eyes and mind assaulted by an image of a house with no yard, yet no fewer than 20 giant inflatables suffocating the structure, not allowing even a mouse to stir.

Inflatable Santas come in all configurations. One is seen exiting an outhouse. Hilarity at its peak, what? Another one climbing an inflatable tree got bad reviews for being too lightweight and dim. Uh huh. Can you imagine a 30-foot-tall Santa Claus, a Colossus among jolly elves, full of hot air, and capable of blowing the roof off any gathering with one small leak. Remind you of any relatives?

But it’s not just the inflatables bowling over the beloved holiday. Not by a long shot. A simple string of lights around the roof perimeter have made way for multiple green-lit elf faces patrolling the entire property — a naughty kid’s worst nightmare.

Seriously, I’m not the decoration cop. I am aware of the flagrant diversity of adornment. I just question the allure of things like chenille Santa face toilet covers with his red suit surrounding the commode. But if I’m honest, we had our share of kitsch in older days too. How about bubble lights and color wheels? Seem tame, don’t they though?

There were songs, too, like “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” and “Here Comes Suzy Snowflake.” Who can forget the classic, “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”? There is no era throughout human history that shows evidence of saner celebratory rites. We are an entertaining bunch.

Therefore, in the spirit of those immortal words penned long ago by C. Clarke Moore, let me say in good cheer concerning the madcap inflatables, "On Comet, on Cupid, on Gaudy and Glitzen! Now dash away, throw away, float away, all!" I may have left something out.

Meanwhile, in the true spirit of Christmas, here’s a great tip for your tree search — the Sugar Pine Café in Butte Falls is selling “Christmas Trees for Carter” (Anderson), a lovable young man battling PKAN disease about whom I wrote earlier. It’s on a donation basis, with proceeds going toward PKAN research. Enjoy a drive to the higher country away from the crowds, find a beautiful tree and tell them Peggy sent you!

— Peggy Dover is a freelance writer living in Eagle Point in a home with no inflatables except one ignored exercise ball. Email her at


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