Friday, December 3, 2010

A Christmas (Lights) Story

our half-done lights
By Megan Brooks

In the suburbs, everyone feels compelled to one-up each other. This is most evident to me in the summertime (whose lawn is greenest?) and during the holidays, when you can’t drive down the street without nearly having a seizure from all the blinking twinkle lights. Each house shouts at me: no, I have the most Christmas spirit!

Over the weekend, our neighbors (and good friends) sent us a teasing text message: “Our Christmas lights are up. Where are yours?”

Reluctantly, we dragged ourselves and a giant ladder outside in the wind and chilliness to attempt hanging outdoor lights. This is the first Christmas we’ve decided to do this, though it’s the third one we’ll spend in our current home. We’re usually good with just a lighted wreath on the door. How Scrooge-ish of us.

My poor husband Brian, who’s not a fan of heights, climbed up the ladder while I held the bottom steady. I was a bit nervous because, working in a hospital environment, I know hanging decorations from high heights is an ER visit waiting to happen. Brian was nervous because another neighbor in fact did fall from his ladder the day before. Thankfully he was not hurt. But his lights sure look great.

As Brian clipped lights onto the slant of the roof above our garage, inching closer and closer to the peak and lengthening the ladder to get higher and higher, the wind was picking up and I could tell he was really not liking this. But, like a good suburbanite, he put on a brave face and trudged onward. Right before he reached the peak, the highest height, he’d finally had it. To do the peak, he was going to have to stand on one of the highest rungs where the top of the ladder hit at his waist and there was nothing to hold on to. He needed to finish it while standing on the roof, he decided.

Visions of – not sugarplums – but Brian’s broken body lying in the yard danced through my head. Were we really going to do this? In the name of suburban Christmas? What if he fell off the roof? Well, we couldn’t just leave the lights dangling there.

When he finished hanging lights above the garage (while standing on the rooftop in the wind) we both agreed we didn’t care about doing the other side of the house. Forget it. We were both stressed out and ready to declare ourselves Scrooges with half-done lighting. I was thankful for my little lighted wreath hanging on the front door.

Later that day, we spotted others in the neighborhood on top of their roofs with their children hanging lights. I was aghast. They looked like it was totally no big deal. Are we just complete wimps or what? Are we the only ones who think this is terrifying?

On the bright side, it’s only six months until summer, and we always have one of the greenest lawns. We don’t even have to risk our lives for it.

Megan Brooks is a Stepmom to a 10-year-old, a scaredy-cat when it comes to high heights, and a Sr. Public Relations Specialist for Texas Health Resources.


  1. We do minimal outdoor decorations, too. No roof-line lights on our two-story, and since the hubby is Jewish, the outside decorations fall solely to me...thus the minimal outdoor decorations. We look like Scrooges, too! Right there with you!

  2. @Julie thanks for making me feel better!! LOL