I used to be that person, driving past your multi-colored lights and inflatable snowmen with a superior grin on my face. My house never had lighted candy canes lining the walk. We didn’t do projected graphics onto the side of the house or garage. We were all white lights outlining all the gutters and windows. We were the classic, traditionally reserved Holiday decorators. Then I had a kid.
This weekend, like families all over the country, my husband and daughter braved the cold and hung our Christmas decorations outside the house. The only resemblance to my former decor is the large, real wreath hanging on the door, woven with holly berries and small frosted twigs.
Other than that, my white lights have been replaced with colored LEDs. They’re bright and a bit messier. Those candy canes that I always thought were kind of tacky? We have them. There’s even an inflatable snowman that my husband and daughter found during an after-Christmas sale a couple years back. I found myself seriously considering a little lighted penguin at Target to stand next to our snowman. I always hated these tacky lawn decorations. Now, I can’t get enough of them. Someday, there will be reindeer and a sleigh on our roof. I just know it.
The reason that I’ve changed my position on these tacky decorations is pretty obvious. Children love tacky Christmas decorations. The louder the look, the happier they are. There isn’t an inch on our house that my little girl doesn’t want to see covered in red and green light.
That first night after all their hard work, walking out in our pajamas to see the lights flip on, is magical. Hearing my daughter squeal with delight is one of the best sounds in the world. Even better, she makes that sound every time we pull up to our house after dark. She loves seeing all those bright lights, feeling festive and excited for the holiday to come.
It’s not just that I’m happy my daughter is happy. I don’t like the lights only for the joy she gets out of them. I’ve grown to honestly appreciate all of our tacky decor on my own. Now I’m one of the people who can’t seem to stop, to say enough is enough. Having a little girl showed me that there’s some excitement lost in those plain white lights. Sure, they’re pretty. But they’re lacking that child-like enthusiasm.
The first year we put up our multi-colored lights, I figured that it was just a phase. In a couple years, my daughter wouldn’t care as much. We would switch back to the classics. My house would look refined again.
Now, I think about all the other kids who get that squeaky excitement when they see a brightly lit, completely tacky house full of Christmas decorations. I kind of want to be the house that people make it a point to drive by each year. I remember loving those houses as a kid, begging my dad to take the long way to dance class so we could see this special, amazing house filled with Santas and reindeer and snowmen. Nothing about that house was reserved. And I loved it.
If we’re going to decorate for Christmas, why not be the brightest, loudest, tackiest house on the block? Why not pile on the lights and candy canes? The wonder that every little kid feels staring at those flamboyant houses is exactly what I want to remember about the holidays. I like the idea of being someone who helps that excitement along, in my own little girl and in any other child that drives by. I’ll save the chic, classic decorations for all the other houses on the block. We’re going to be the loud ones.