I love National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. I'm not necessarily proud of this, but it's true. It's as much a part of my Christmas movie tradition as It's a Wonderful Life and The Bishop's Wife (I have many layers).
Do you remember Clark and Ellen Griswold's snooty neighbors, Todd and Margo? They were completely unfriendly and had that perfect house and hated Clark Griswold. "Todd and Margo" live across the street from me. My Todd and Margo have no kids and spend all of their time working on or around their house. They have remodeled everything there is to remodel, there is not a blade of grass out of place, they wash their cars more than I wash my kids. This is all they do. From dawn to dusk, 365 days a year, they are doing something to their house, their cars, or their yard. It has taken Mike a year and a half to remodel our barn, and it's not done yet. "Todd" built one from the ground up in a weekend. They are the uber homeowners and it's simply exhausting to watch them. And it's impossible not to watch them because they are always outside, from sun up to sun down, rain or shine, in sleet and snow, perfecting their already perfect domain.
I think they hate us. No, really, I think they do. And it's not just because our lawn is always in need of a good mowing. They are really unfriendly to us (and to be fair, everyone else in the neighborhood). For most of the year, while the rest of our little cul-de-sac is hanging out in the street and chatting about the latest yard projects during which Ryan, Eric, Emily, and Daniel are racing around and around the loop, "Todd and Margo" are pretending we are not there and sending silent vibes for us to GO AWAY.
And then, for reasons we still do not understand, around mid October "Todd and Margo" transform into Clark and Ellen Griswold.
At Halloween they become That House. While we have a few pumpkins on the front porch and a cute little harvest sign hanging by the front door, "Clark and Ellen" have transformed their perfect little domicile into a haunted house. Skeletons, ghosts, an 8 foot tall blow up grim reaper, a freshly dug "grave", the talking candy bowl with the creepy hands.....they seem to love it when Ryan and Eric come to the door in costume and they greet us as old friends. After Halloween the decorations come down and they go back to pretending they've never seen us before in their lives. And then Christmas hits.
This year Clark began decorating for Christmas about 2 weeks before Thanksgiving. Because he needed the time. We're somewhat familiar with some of their decorations from years past, but this year Clark and Ellen did some serious shopping.
Frankly, we're confused. Shirley and I talk almost every day on the phone and the conversation usually starts with "are you watching this?! What is he doing now?!"
They have pulled out all the stops. These pictures do not do it justice, but I'll see if I can paint a picture for you. Keep in mind, all of this was in place before Thanksgiving and was in full swing on Thanksgiving evening. They have:
A giant blow up snowman, giant blow up santa which pops in and out of a giant blow up chimney, a giant blow up santa riding a Harley, 3 technicolor Christmas trees that play Christmas carols, light up moving reindeer, giant light up candy canes, medium sized light up candy canes, mini light up candy canes, a neon Happy Holidays sign, a red and green Snoopy windsock, and flickering flashing lights in all the colors of the rainbow strung all over the house, shed, and landscaping, all timed to flash at different and random times. And the thing is, they're not done. They keep pulling more and more out--I can see a giant light up snowflake propped up on their deck, just waiting to be hung.
These pictures are not very good but trust me when I say, this is the tackiest, gaudiest thing you have ever seen. Nothing matches, there is no rhyme or reason to it--it is so completely unlike "Todd". At one point I remarked to Shirley "maybe he's doing this because he hates me." She decided that he put way way way too much work in to it for it to be a big screw you to our side of the street. And while I do agree with that logic, I simply have a hard time believing that Mr. and Mrs. Perfect-in-every-way could lose all control and sensibility like this. I can't even imagine what their electric bill is going to be in January.
Today, the 27th day of NOVEMBER, I am going to put my fall decorations away and perhaps get my snowman collection out. We've decided to wait a week or so on the tree, being that it's NOVEMBER and all. I have a sweet snowman I hang next to my front door each year. I'm going to teach it to blow raspberries at the Griswolds.