Part 1 of 3
Christmas is obviously a time when jolliness and good spirits ring true in the demeanor of friends, family, and all of the obsessed mall dwellers; not just in the people, but also in the decor of the season do we find such cheer. My family was never keen on over aggrandizing the idea of Christmas by lighting up our household facade like the Las Vegas strip, or planting 10 foot blow-up snow globes at the end of the front yard. We were rather reserved and conservative when it came to our decor. A wreath here; a snowman ornament there; and yeah, you get the picture. Though we were not the Griswalds when it came to our own home, for some odd reason my parents always found amusement in witnessing others create such excessive displays of luminosity. Which is why, every Christmas season, my family would take a trip to the local lawn and garden center to experience the wonders of “Santa’s Christmasland”.
Close your eyes and imagine a poorly ventilated, tightly compacted hallway in a haunted house. Now substitute the ghouls and goblins with a multitude of decorated, artificial Christmas trees and various animated characters that look as though they are in dire need of an exorcism and you have yourself “Christmasland”. If the life-size, plastic penguins, robotic reindeer, and Bavarian, bicycling bears in German garb (what that has to do with Christmas is beyond me), didn’t frighten you to tears, then add the sweet scents of ginger-berry and cinnamon that filled the musty air and you my friend have a recipe for disaster. This short 300 ft lane of commercialized characters and hodgepodge holiday vignettes was capped of with a religious manger scene; most likely in an attempt to keep the stores name from being smeared across Bill O’ Reily’s “Pinheads or Patriots” segment for not expressing the true “reason for the season”. As a child I felt as if I were sauntering through the land of misfit toys, while simultaneously trying to force merriment in front of my parents. But looking back on this experience it has actually brought me much joy and the occasional chuckle.
Oh “Christmasland”, how you ‘sleigh’ me.
-Steve “The Man of Many Hats” Perna