Todd Johnson On Living With A Holiday Decorating Addict

Living with a holiday junkie.

Ho-Ho-Oh No
I live with a holiday decorating addict. Santa, help me.

Dear Santa,

No, this isn’t about the pony again. You’ve had nearly 40 years to get that one right, and I’ve come to realize that some relationships are simply not meant to be. Kind of like Brad and Jennifer. But I digress.

The point of this passionate plea isn’t to nit-pick your organizational inefficiency. Rather, I need help at home. An intervention. You see, I live with a holiday junkie. Tom’s got a reindeer on his back, and, friend, it ain’t Rudolph. Its name is Pottery Barn, Target, Neiman Marcus, and any other tinsel-pushing retailer preying on the weak-willed shopper, drunk on holiday cheer. (Psst hey, you wearing the snowman sweater. You wanna score some mistletoe?)

Not that I totally blame Tom. He has the heart and naivet of an 8-year-old. It’s rather charming. That is, until the stores transform into Winter Wonderlands and all Tom can say is, Ooooo sparkly. Then out plops the credit card, and come January, I’m neck deep in bay-leaf scented garland, picking cranberries out of the darndest places.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, Santa. Years of holiday disappointment have left me jaded. (Honest, I’m not bitter about the pony.) And if it was just Christmas, I could handle it. I’m no Scrooge. But Tom’s obsession knows no limits. Thanksgiving, Easter, Secretary’s Day – all are excuses to indulge his decorative impulses. Still unconvinced? Take, for example, this recent exchange at the mall:

Me: “Now tell me again why we have to have a fake black crow?”

Tom: “Because it’s Halloween.”

Me: Blink.

Tom: “What?”

Me: “You say that as if it’s a reasonable reply.”

Tom: “Just shut up and grab a crow.”

And purchase the crows we did. Ten of them to go along with the eight hay bales, 12 pumpkins, 40 strands of orange-and-purple outdoor lights, and a fake spider the size of an African pygmy. The decorations were the hit of our Oak Cliff block until one unlucky tot dressed as a bumblebee touched the crow, shrieked in horror, and did a half-gainer off the porch. Tom was mortified. I gave the now mentally scarred child a 9.5 for the dismount but only a 7.5 for the landing.

I guess the crows weren’t such a good idea, Tom murmured as he plucked the tot from the ivy.

So as you can see, Santa, I need your help. It’s not just for my sanity and fiscal stability. For the sake of the children, this madness must end. I think 17 of your brawniest elves should do the trick. They can hold Tom down. I’ll play The Twelve Days of Christmas repeatedly. You’ll feed him figgy pudding until he breaks. And then we can all enjoy the holidays like civilized adults: A tree, some presents, and goodwill toward men. That’s all anyone really needs, right?

Of course, if you have a spare pony lying around

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