Since our first child came into our lives, and since that first child started noticing the other houses in our neighborhood with all their splendid Christmas lights and giant snow globes and blown up characters with cheesy smiles, our home has experienced a post-Thanksgiving tension every December regarding holiday curb appeal.
Last year, things really came to a head. While Brian and I were looking for random stuff at the The Home Depot, Mira and Leela were stomping their feet and angrily shaking their fists in the holiday aisle, protesting the fact that theirs was the only home that didn't look like a circus in the front yard.
It's not that we didn't do anything. I had what I considered four tasteful bows lined along the front porch railing, a smiling Santa wreath, and a small wooden stand sitting on our porch flanked with three plump snowmen. I thought our house looked simply adorable. Our girls thought our home was the epitome of lame.
We held them off by explaining that we'd buy outdoor lights the following Christmas, after moving to a new house. A few more moments of annoying whining passed, but by the time we reached the check-out counter, the girls were satisfied that for the next holiday, they would get their due.
A few days after Thanksgiving this year, we found ourselves back at The Home Depot. Negotiations began amidst a colorful carnival of inflatables, bulbs, blinking Christmas trees, reindeer, chubby towering snowmen and cheeky Santas. At first the girls pleaded for the most enormous, brightest, blinkiest structures around, but we talked them down. We just couldn't find something fun yet tasteful.
And then what to our wondering eyes did appear, but one small but colorfully lit Santa, and a matching snowman, that would fit perfectly on the inside of our front windows! It was a compromise we could all live with. The kids got a little bit of Vegas-style décor, and Brian and I avoided grazing deer with bobbing heads or giant-sized snow globes on our front lawn. And, we had a happy ending for our Christmas dilemma.
Happy holidays to you all, and I hope your home lights up with peace, love and joy in the coming year.
Anjali lives near Atlanta with her husband and two young girls. She'll be enjoying her holiday lights until the next electricity bill arrives.