If the children are with me, I put off going to Canadian Tire this time of year. This is because outside the door is one or more of those huge, inflatable Christmas “decorations” (and I use the term loosely). Whether it’s Frosty the Snowman, or a bubble of swirling snow with Santa on his sleigh inside it (like some captured prize of a Narnia-like evil despot), or (this one makes me grit my teeth) a Santa Homer Simpson (WHO ON EARTH thinks that is Christmassy?) – they all just make me want to run screaming. And yes, I have been known to turn away from a store just because these monstrous things are up.
The children, however, love these things. Look! They play music. Look! Santa pops up out of the chimney. Look! It’s magic. And the inevitable request. Can we get one? Please? Pleeeeaaase?
Maybe it’s my conservative nature. I like decorating with fairy lights and greenery, red bows and silver balls. I can admire home-made ornaments and paper chains strung from the ceiling, cotton wool bearded popsicle Santa’s and clothes-peg based Rudolphs. Bring it all on, and I revel in it.
But not inflatable Santas that sit in the middle of the yard waving and bopping merrily to all and sundry during the evening, and then spend their days in a crumpled heap of plasticated defeat –a sad sodden puddle of Christmas decoration waiting to be plugged back in so it can wobble and wave once more.
However much I dislike these grossly overdone figures, for reasons I cannot fathom they have become a staple of the Christmas landscape, much as the giant plastic candles were a staple of my childhood Christmas memories (for the record, I never liked them much either!).
Oh yes, they make a big, bold statement. But I so prefer the neighbour’s house down the street with its miniature reindeer lit up with twinkling white lights.