I’m not sure when it happened but at some point it became not only acceptable but encouraged to decorate the outside of your home with massively huge, spectacular, inflatable holiday-themed characters. We’ve all seen them. The giant standing Santa, the enormous snowman, the Santa sitting in a sleigh filled with gifts and more recently the ones that are barely holiday-themed such as Santa driving a plane with a propeller that actually turns, Sponge-Bob Square Pants in a Santa hat, Snoopy riding a scooter, Mickey Mouse wearing a toque holding a wrapped present, Winnie-the-Pooh, Eeyore and Piglet on a toboggan, a 7 foot tall T-Rex wearing a Santa hat. What the heck do these things have to do with Christmas? And why? Why do people purchase these things? I have had trouble comprehending why you would purposely run out to Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, TarJay and purchase one of these inflatable creatures, bring it home, anchor it to your front lawn, plug it in and watch your electricity bill sky rocket just so your front lawn can be adorned with something terrifyingly huge lighting up the night sky. I suppose these inflatables are wise investments from a storage standpoint. They must replace those hard plastic, oversized light up candles, Santas and snowmen from the eighties and early nineties. I have no idea where people stored those in the “off season.”
Rewind 10ish years ago to my late teens and very early twenties… one of my very good friends and I used to be in awe (not in a good way) of these ridiculous inflatable lawn decorations. There may or may not have been talk after too much “Christmas cheer” of wanting to stab them and put them out of their misery. (We never did for the record.) We just didn’t understand. What was so wrong with Christmas lights? Why was it necessary to have these giant inflatable things? A Santa, reindeer, Christmas tree and snowman was one thing but what is with these ones that are barely related to Christmas. They are just a random life-sized character either holding a gift or wearing a Santa hat. When did this become status quo in the world of holiday décor? It’s like putting a life-sized figure of Shemar Moore on your front lawn, handing him a gift and calling it Christmas décor. Okay wait…bad example… I would absolutely buy and put one of those on my front lawn year-round. Do those exist? Where does one buy something like that? Anyways, we didn’t get it. We thought those inflatable lawn ornaments were tacky and awful. We were living in a white lights, glass ornaments, Pinterest-perfect décor, too much egg nog world.
This year, at the age of 30 and the proud mother of Irish twins, while cruising through Home Depot with my two little ones (18 months and 7 months old) in my cart on my usual hunt for something to better baby-proof our home/make life easier (this time some sort of wood to attach to our wrought iron bannister so we can properly attach a baby gate. Last time, a laundry hamper for my kitchen to throw dirty, food covered, bibs, facecloths and clothing into on the run rather than have a pile waiting to go down to the laundry room. Glamorous, I know!) I was excited to check out the Christmas aisle. I was looking for a new holiday wreath for our front door and I really like the chique, glamorous Martha Stewart collection that Home Depot sells. When I pushed my cart full of babies down the aisle, I watched their faces light up with joy watching all of the decorative lights, hearing the sounds of Christmas lights that play carols, stockings that sing, plush Christmas characters that dance and play music. At the risk of sounding incredibly corny, I watched the magic of Christmas come alive in the eyes of my two little babes.
I got it.
It all made sense.
All of the tacky, colourful “crap” that I would normally quickly walk past before someone saw me looking at it and mistakenly thought I was thinking of buying it was the stuff that I excitedly was stopping to show my two little babes who were amazed by it and were so excited to see for the first time! Miss 18 months face lit up when she saw a full sized light up Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer… and she screamed like she was in a horror movie when a plush flamingo in a Santa hat started dancing to the Macarena, scaring the crap out of her! (Who can blame her really? I didn’t see that coming!) Mr. 7 months’ big blue eyes followed all of the coloured lights and he smiled and squealed with excitement. My two babies loved all of the colours, the lights, the music, the sparkle of all of the over-the-top, animated holiday décor. On the way out, we took a quick peek at the beautiful, classy Martha Stewart holiday décor. Boring. Zero reaction from my little ones. As I looked at a wreath I normally would have immediately fallen in love with, my 18 month old daughter’s head was practically turned backwards trying to get one more glimpse of a Christmas stocking with a plush puppy on it that barked to the tune of Jingle Bells while his ears flopped up and down.
To quote my favourite Christmas Character, Mr. Grinch, “Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Perhaps Christmas means just a little bit more.” The spirit of Christmas comes alive when you see the reaction of two, little babies to the magic and wonder of the season.
I walked down that Christmas aisle looking for a glamorous Christmas wreath. I left calling Hubby, telling him that we really, really need to consider purchasing a full-sized inflatable Dora the Explorer lawn character that has nothing to do with Christmas aside from the fact she is wearing a Santa hat. The kiddos would love it. That and a light up Elmo! He is not sold on this idea…yet. He tried to tell me that there is some unwritten rule that you can’t have an inflatable character unless you have Christmas lights. Right. Last year he told me that we didn’t need Christmas lights because you could see our Christmas tree through our window so it wasn’t necessary. Bah Humbug! We haven’t purchased our inflatable Dora yet but I have a feeling it’s all coming up “inflatable” next Christmas! The babies would love it! And that is truly what it is all about. To the people of the world inflating ridiculously, hideous, barely related to Christmas characters on your front lawns, foolishly inflating your hydro bill at the same time to keep these things full of air and well lit, flying their planes, waving their huge arms, playing their music, I applaud you. I get it now. Sorry for naively judging you in the past.
P.S. I also confronted my good friend, my partner in inflatable-hating and confessed that I have switched to the “dark side” and am in the market for a giant, larger than life-sized, inflatable, Dora. She is not impressed. She actually told me that she will be stabbing it “for my own good.” She will change her mind when she sees the excitement on the faces of my two little ones. I know it! We’ll win her over!
P.S.S. I saw on the Home Depot website that you can now purchase a 10.5 ft tall Santa. While I understand the inflatable thing, this is excessive. And terrifying. It’s just too much. Let’s not get carried away!
andbabymakes3imean4 is one mom’s adventures while tap dancing on the brink of insanity with 2 babies, 11 months apart. If you liked this post, please click “Subscribe/Follow” or like my page on facebook to be the first to know of future posts. Thanks for reading! xo