Battle of the Christmas Bulbs


Each Christmas season, I dig up old stories I’ve written about Christmas and work on them a bit more, while I’m in the Christmas frame of mind. Here is one I wrote about the competition between neighbors to have the best Christmas lights. (excuse the formatting below)

The Great Battle of the Bulbs

by Natasha Wing

Christmas season was in full swing. 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 outdoor display that best captured the spirit of Christmas.

My neighbors shifted their decorating into high gear.

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 stringing his with a high-powered staple gun.

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…inside my house!

In the meantime, I filled the bottoms of paper bags with sand. Then I placed a candle in each bag and set out my luminaries.

On Sunday, those two were at it again.

Freddy Bob was franticly setting up a winter wonderland complete with twirling ice skaters and sliding penguins.

Freddy Bob shouted, “Hey, Travis! Try to beat this Christmas spirit!”

“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!

On Monday, Freddy Bob brought in a full orchestra and a choir which played the Twelve Days of Christmas. He even had 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, Travis staged a live performance of The Nutcracker. He imported 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. And so did the line of cars.

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 broadcast Christmas music.

Silent Night this was not.

Me? I lit my luminaries. Then I sat on my porch sipping spiced cider and watched a steady stream of cars cruise through the neighborhood, looky-loos pointing and oo-ing and ah-ing at the Christmas spectacles.

Travis and Freddy Bob put on the final touches just as the mayor’s limo turned the corner.

Mayor Julie Annie stepped out of the limo. Her hair was piled high in the shape of a Christmas tree. Her bulb necklace blinked.

Mayor Julie Annie announced to the crowd that had gathered, “I am please to see that everyone in this fine city got into the spirit of Christmas. I would love to give each and every one of you a trophy. But I only have one.”

A couple of beefy men carried the trophy from the limo and set it on the sidewalk in front of Travis’s house.

“And the trophy goes to –”

Suddenly, 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. Freddy Bob has outdone him.

The men picked up the trophy and carried it to Freddy Bob’s house where Freddy Bob stood, his chest puffed up bigger than Santa Claus’s. The mayor proclaimed, “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.

People ran screaming.

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. From the silence, one voice sang, “Silent night.”

Then one voice became two, two became four, and soon, everyone was singing.

That’s when our town found the true spirit of Christmas.

And I discovered that a trophy makes a real good candle holder.


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