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Essay: The glory of over-decorating for Christmas

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

My apartment has enough Christmas decorations to make some people gag.

In my living room there's a strand of lights on the Venetian blinds. More hang from the ceiling. There's a seven foot-tall Christmas tree -- and a three-foot tall stuffed Santa by the window.

My roommate laughed when I put it all up.

Everyone who's come to our apartment in the past month or two has laughed... this same kind of bemused chuckle.

They laugh, then I laugh, because this is just a fraction of my total Christmas decor.

I've got boxes and boxes of lights and knick-knacks still sitting in the closet.

I'm a 25 year old single guy who's very into the Holidays.

That makes me a bit of an odd duck -- but I come by it honestly.

My dad proudly displays a life-sized, light-up nativity on his lawn. He listens to Christmas music 3-months-a-year.

When I was a teenager I started collecting Christmas decorations so that when I had a place of my own I could be properly festive.

Now I get decorations as gifts for every birthday and Christmas.

I've got a growing collection of Christmas kitsch and I don't know how to stop.

Except, these past few years my mystical feelings about Christmas have faded some.

When I was trimming my tree this year, it felt a little bit materialistic and meaningless.

I looked at one of my Santa figurines, and I can imagine his cheery red face wasting away in a landfill, cracked and broken. Sitting there -- trash that holds no real meaning for anyone.

At first my friends’ laughter at my gaudy Christmas display seemed to echo those doubts.

But there aren't many chances to celebrate joy for joy's sake.

I inherited this tradition of Christmas pageantry from my family and I’m re-interpreting it now to fit my own sensibilities. I’m embracing a role as some sort of Christmas jester. I’ll keep stringing up all the lights and garland I can.

When I’m too old to deck the halls and all my ornaments fill a landfill, I’ll remember the smiles on friendly faces lit-up by the glow of Christmas lights, and the laughter, and the good-spirited amusement at my efforts.

Michigan winters are depressingly long, and cold and dark. In this season, there's some joy to be found in bringing unabashed holiday cheer and light to my loved ones and neighbors, and to all.

Tyler Scott is the weekend afternoon host at Michigan Public, though you can often hear him filling in at other times during the week. Tyler started in radio at age 18, as a board operator at WMLM 1520AM in Alma, Michigan, where he later became host of The Morning Show.
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