Messydress Costume Blog

Xmas Inflatables ~ Miracle Or Cop-Out?
As a girl with dreams of a more whimsical world, Christmas was always a satisfying time of year for me. During the holidays, my family and I would pile into the car at twilight, drive around the suburbs, and bask in the glow of elaborate Xmas yard decor.

Over the years, we’d developed a route that hit all the best and biggest lawn displays. There was the all-white house done-up like gingerbread, the living doll house full of moving stuffed bears, and best of all: an entire yard-full of mechanical animation featuring my favourite cartoon characters, all built by hand and moving together like clockwork!

I believed at the time that it was the colours, the blinking lights, the imposing bigness of it all that left me giddy and awed. But then the inflatables began to appear. One by one, those yards that dutifully hosted makeshift nativities and snowmen each year now showcased the same… but blown-up.

Now, I’m not one to knock inflatables. As someone who tivos Macy’s parade, and nearly causes several accidents a year due to off-road hot-air balloon sightings, I appreciate the value of inflatables as a less expensive means of large-scale art exhibition. But something is missing from the friendly faces of these blow-up Santas, elves, and Snoopys: innovation. They weren’t built, they were bought.

“But Mess”, you say, “people have been incorporating pre-lit deer and spiral trees into their decor for many years!” Fine, if you don’t have an exorbitant amount of time to spend re-creating Santa’s Workshop on your lawn. It’s when I drive by what was once known to be a grand example of pre-meditated, hand-strung craftsmanship, only to find it reduced to a pile of Kmart crap, when I really feel the blow to the ol’ Xmas spirit!

So what’s you’re opinion? Does Christmas come only from the temporary facade of large-scale lawn ornaments, in the form of festive content and chubby, inflated reindeer cheeks? Or, is the lost art of taking time to lovingly place twinkling bulbs hand-to-siding truly robbing us of what was once a cathartic holiday ritual? What does the Christmas tradition of lawn expression mean to you?


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