That’s the Christmas Spirit!
by Natasha Wing
The Christmas season was in full swing. But what should have been a time of peace and joy, turned into a Battle of the Bulbs.
It all started when Mayor Julie Annie announced that she was awarding a trophy for the best outdoor display that best captures the spirit of Christmas.
My neighbors – Freddy Bob on my left and Travis on my right – shifted their decorating into high gear.
The great Christmas decoration competition was on, and I was stuck right smack dab in the middle of it.
First thing Saturday morning, I was jolted awake by dueling BEEP BEEP BEEPs and RAT-A-TAT-TATs.
Freddy Bob was backing a crane up to his house to string lights.
Travis was shooting off a high-powered staple gun to string his.
All day long those two stapled and pounded and cursed until their houses were covered with Christmas lights. There were so many lights, I needed sunglasses just to walk outside at night.
For my decorations, I filled the bottoms of paper bags with sand. Then placed a candle in each bag.
That night, Freddy Bob waddled across my yard over to Travis’s, tucking in his shirt and straightening his big belt buckle which read #1.
He pointed to his buckle and said, “I’m going to win that trophy, Travis, just you watch. Because I’m number one in everything.”
Travis spat on the ground. His cowboy hat was titled so far back his ears were the only thing keeping it on.
He squinted one eye shut and peered over at Freddy Bob’s house. “Not if you’ve got a light out on your roof.”
“Crimminy, chimney!” cried Freddy Bob. He shimmied up the ladder to replace the bulb. From the top of the ladder he called down, “Hey, Travis! Did you know your Rudolph nose isn’t blinking?”
Travis grumbled and quickly fixed the reindeer’s nose which then lit up brighter than a stop light.
On Sunday, which should have been a day of rest, those two were at it again!
While I was putting out my luminaries, Freddy Bob was franticly setting up a winter wonderland complete with twirling ice skaters and sliding penguins.
“I can top that,” yelled Travis.
He recreated Santa’s village with real elves who were up all night hammering bang, bang, bang! Oh, the noise!
Freddy Bob shouted, “Hey, Travis! Try to beat this Christmas spirit!”
He brought in a full orchestra and a choir which played the Twelve Days of Christmas.
Freddy Bob was the conductor, of course. And there were live turtle doves, French hens, milking maids and a partridge in a pear tree.
At first it was quite something to hear. But then the same song playing over and over again drove me nuttier than a fruit cake!
If that wasn’t enough, on the other side of my house, Travis staged a live performance of the The Nutcracker.
Travis directed it himself, of course. He imported the finest dancers from New York City. They were spinning and twirling and leaping and quite frankly, were making me dizzy just watching them.
The performances went on until after midnight. What ever happened to peace on Earth?
At last, judging day arrived.
Freddy Bob and Travis worked up until the last-minute, adding spotlights and putting in speakers to belt out Christmas songs.
Silent Night this was not.
Me? I lit my luminaries.
A steady stream of cars came through the neighborhood. Looky-loos pointed and oo-ed and ah-ed at the Christmas spectacles.
Travis and Freddy Bob put on the final touches just as the mayor’s limo turned the corner onto our street.
Freddy Bob tucked in his shirt. Travis straightened his hat.
I sat on my porch sipping mulled cider.
The mayor stepped out of the limo, her hair piled high in the shape of a Christmas tree.
A couple of beefy men carried the trophy and set it between Freddy Bob’s and Travis’s houses, which meant, on my lawn.
The mayor announced to the crowd that had gathered, “As mayor, I am pleased to see that everyone in this fine city got into the spirit of Christmas. But I can only give one trophy.”
A giant sleigh lifted off the ground and hovered above Freddy Bob’s house. Santa Claus waved to the crowd below.
Everyone cheered. Except Travis. He threw his hat to the ground and stomped on it.
The mayor headed toward Freddy Bob who was puffed up bigger in the chest than Santa Claus. The mayor said, “I proudly present the Spirit of Christmas award to-”
Just then, the sleigh flew out of control. It knocked over Santa’s workshop.
It took out the ice skaters.
The sugarplums fled for cover.
The sleigh swooshed and smacked into a pole. Not the North Pole. A street light pole!
Just like that, the lights went out.
There was total darkness.
Except for my luminaries.
A hush fell over the crowd.
Then from the silence, one voice sang, “Silent night. Holy night. All is calm. All is bright.”
Then one voice became two, two became four, and soon, everyone was singing. Even Freddy Bob and Travis. In harmony, no less.
When the song was over, the mayor said, “Follow the light!”
From my porch, Mayor Julie Annie proclaimed that I had embodied the true Spirit of Christmas. She awarded me the trophy.
I must admit, it makes a mighty fine candle holder.