The House That Screamed "Christmas!"

by Torry Martin

Dear B. Log,

My house might be featured on TV tonight! Odyssey Channel 5 News came to do a story about our neighborhood Christmas Food Drive and Decorating Contest. It was awesome! People from all over town are driving through the neighborhood to look at the lights and drop off canned food donations. The giant bin in my front yard has already been filled to overflowing twice! If ya ask me, loving your neighbors by making sure they are fed is a perfect way to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

The whole neighborhood got into the spirit of our annual Christmas Decorating contest. Back in October, my neighbor Miss Willow said she could match me light-for-light with any Christmas decorations I put up. That sounded like a challenge, so I took it!

I thought it was gonna be an easy victory for me until just 15 minutes ago. Miss Willow didn’t have any decorations up till then, so I was sure I would win! After all, I’ve spent the last three months putting up over 60,000 multicolored lights that flash in time to Christmas music. I also have four inflatable snowmen, five remote-controlled elves, six motion-sensor toy soldiers, nine animatronic reindeer, eleven pre-lit artificial trees and twelve giant candy canes!

And for the crowning touch⎯drum roll, please⎯I decorated the inside of my garage to look like a stable and replaced the garage door with Plexiglas so folks could see the animated nativity scene inside. It’s beautiful! I even have a spotlight shining on baby Jesus! Then, to remind people of the true meaning of Christmas, I put a huge blinking sign on my roof that says, “Unto YOU a child is born! Merry Christmas, Odyssey!”

Yup. My house literally screams, “Merry Christmas!” Or at least it did until I started getting complaints from neighbors about their windows rattling from the decibel vibrations. (Whenever a car drives by my house, it activates a motion sensor that turns on yard speakers so folks hear my recorded voice screaming, “Merry Christmas!” followed by Sam’s barking of “Happy New Year!” Or at least that’s what I think Sam was barking. It sounds like “Woofy-woof-woof,” but I’m sure my translation is seasonally appropriate.)

Anyway, Miss Willow made me disconnect the speakers because she said the earmuffs I gave her just weren’t stifling the noise and were making her ears sweat. And let’s face it⎯no one likes sweaty ears, so the speakers had to go.

You would think that after three months of setting up extensive decorations, there would be no way Miss Willow could match me light-for-light in five minutes, right? Yeah, that’s what I thought, too. Until she set up an illuminated sign in her yard that started blinking the one word that turned everything into a tie:

“Ditto.”

This article first appeared in the December 2010 issue of Focus on the Family Clubhouse magazine. Copyright © 2010 by Torry Martin. Used by permission. Illustration © Gary Locke.