holiday decorating distressWe all have THAT neighbor. The one who bedazzles her home, inside and out, with so many holiday adornments, Santa himself would blush. You know the house—the one down the street that glows with electric yuletide ecstasy, banishing the darkness for two entire city blocks. Sure, some do it tastefully. Others miss the mark. Thankfully, my neighbors have great taste. They also have the stamina of flying reindeer.

Every year, exactly one day after Thanksgiving, my neighbor methodically takes down her humongous glowing pumpkin, life-sized mechanical ghost, scarecrow, hay bales, RIP gravestones, 4-foot mummy, and assorted flying witches, and replaces it all with Christmas grandeur. It begins around 7 am. Her husband happily strings lights, places stars, and runs miles of electrical cables. I periodically glance out my window, monitoring their progress and silently wishing they would stop by my house and do their magic here.

By nightfall, their McMansion is supersized with holiday cheer, complete with piped-in music that fills the brisk evening with carols. The home’s tasteful whimsy not only puts my own to candy-cane shame, it also causes my children to question my Christmas spirit: “Why don’t WE have a giant inflatable snow globe in our front yard? Where is OUR 2-story snowman?” they ask. I really don’t blame them. I like that fancy stuff, too, but my attempts at holiday decorating always end up looking awful. Like last year…

Oh no! Jane ends up trapped under the tannenbaum!—>


I bought 2-dozen huge plastic ornaments to decorate the tree in our front yard. In my head, it was magnificent. In reality, it looked ridiculous. I didn’t have a ladder tall enough to place the balls any higher than the bottom row of branches. I also didn’t buy enough ornaments. My tree was pathetic—It looked like a coniferous hula dancer.

After that debacle, I decided to put up our fake fir inside the house. I lugged its many pieces upstairs, along with two giant bins of ordinary-sized ornaments. It was deceptively heavy. Its giant iron rods with lights woven around each bough (and missing assembly instructions) left me frankincensed. I actually got it upright a few times, only to watch it collapse and spring apart. 

On my final try, and with my last ounce of strength, I placed the “topper” and heaved it upward. *CRASH* There I was, trapped beneath the tannenbaum. If it hadn’t been for my boys rolling the dusty monster off me, I would still be under that tree today. 

…Aaaah, the holidays.

In a last-ditch effort to decorate my home, I hung a wreath on my front door. My husband was none too thrilled with my decision to superglue the hook onto our portico, but, hey, it held. (In fact, it’s been there ever since as a permanent reminder of my only decorating success.)

As I gazed at the facade of our woefully under-adorned house, a song filled my heart. No, wait a minute, that was the ambient music from the majestic, glowing, McMansion. No matter; a song filled my heart and I resolved to try to do something, anything, to make our home appear festive. I raced to the store and bought an inflatable embellishment. “This year is going to be different!” I thought. “So what if our electric bill doubles? It will be worth it. I will finally be THAT neighbor and my boys will be thrilled!” Merry Christmas! XO. 

Jane Suter is one funny mom. Share your own funny parenting experiences below!