There’s always that one house in the neighborhood that’s The House, the one with lights in places you wouldn’t have thought of and a towering balloon Santa in the yard. Growing up, there was a house we coined The Tacky House. Every conceiveable inch of that house had a light on it, the entire yard was lined with row after row of lights, joined by hundreds of plastic figures crammed in the yard like they were having a big shittin’ get together.
This place was an attraction, a tradition. Holiday music streamed from the rocks in the yard; the owners stood outside dressed like Santa and Mrs. Claus and handed out candy canes. I loved The Tacky House, and I vowed that one day my house would touch other people’s hearts the way that house touched mine. But then I learned about a thing known as electric bills.
A taste for the tacky is just like coffee or hot sauce–too much can cause an ulcer, but that’s how you know it’s good stuff. I’ve always loved tacky decorations, but my parents were dreadfully dull in their decorating tastes. My mother preferred white lights and Dad would put a single strand–just one strand–across the front of the house. On the inside was classy stuff inside like candles in the windows, foam snowflakes, and garland. It killed me. Garland.
Another thing was buying the tree. We used to beg Dad to take us to the lot with The Snowman–a behemoth, inflatable monster towering over the lot, 80 feet and powered presumably by tiny elves on bikes. Instead he would find the cheapest, most boring lot.
Now is my time to redeem myself. Now is my time to decorate my own place as I please. And I have a huge vintage plastic Nativity Set: (Oh and the snow falling in the picture was a nice touch from Mother Nature.)
My heart stopped this summer when during the weekend flea marketing, I saw that giant Nativity set. The Blessed Family in plastic molds. This flea market is in Pasadena, Maryland, a town that’s half redneck and half suburbanites, but the flea market itself is all redneck. This scraggly gray-haired man is sitting in a lawn chair, cigarette dangling from his lips, Mother Mary and friends in the dirt ground next to him. I inquire about The Family. He looks me up and down, hacks up some phlegm, and tells me he found them in a boat. Just found ’em in there and I can have ’em all for 2 bucks.
That’s the story of how the Blessed Family came to me, by way of Pasadena, traveling by boat. It took the girlfriend and me two trips carrying these things to my car. People were staring. Someone even heckled us, asking where the third wiseman was. They barely fit in the backseat of my two door car. Baby Jesus and Donkey and Tall Ass Wiseman all twisted and crammed on top of each other. It was sick but I got them all in there.
I have been waiting to put these out on the porch since July. They were still filthy from their boat ride, so we had to give them a good hosing. Then we filled their butts with gravel to keep them from blowing away.
I’ve been paranoid about some punk kid stealing baby Jesus as a prank, and I’ve got my eye on the hoodlum skateboarder kid across the street. That would be the Christmas tragedy if something happened to one of these plastic hunks. But I’ve cleverly strung all the figures together with lights, so if the punk wants to try and steal one, he’s gonna have to take the whole display down with him, and assloads of gravel will spill all over his feet, causing him to trip uncontrollably. It’s some Home Alone shit.
Well my neighborhood doesn’t just have one tacky house–it has an entire block. This block is on 34th street and calls itself the Miracle on 34th Street. It draws people from all over. It’s been featured on television segments, but that’s not as impressive as the fact that people hawk souvenirs and hot chocolate outside. Yeah, if your block is selling souvenir glow sticks, that’s how you know you’re Big Time. The block is truly something beautiful, the level of tacky I so adore.
We strolled down this block with cups of hot chocolate, and now’s the time for THE SURFING PIZZA to officially endorse 7-11’s Candy Cane Hot Chocolate. It’s white chocolate & mint, and it tastes just like Christmas.
This is my favorite picture below. Look at this old woman in the backseat smiling. They say Christmas is about seeing the kids’ faces, but I think this picture proves that the season can be magical and awesome at any age. She’s having a freaking blast.
Christmas comes this time each year.