Hey you! You with the wreath on the door! You, there, with the 30-inch faded plastic candle on the balcony!
Your intentions might once have been good, but now, instead of spreading cheer, you're killing us all. You're putting the "Christ! Enough already!" back in Christmas. Get your damn holiday decorations down.
Is it a safety issue? Can't scale a ladder atop four inches of wet ice to nip off the string of lights icing your front door? Get some salt, smash the frosty offence with a garden edger and start climbing. Are you not able-bodied? I understand. Please ask a neighbour. Perhaps the same neighbour who put them up for you. In December. That was 12 weeks ago, you know.
Yes, 12 weeks ago. Three months. Those holiday decals and gewgaws went up before winter even officially started. Now? Now winter's almost over (god, yes, for the love of little wormy apples, let it be over). And you? You're still flying the red and green. Except now the lights are half-hanging, the wreath is decaying and the paint has flecked off your polyethylene Santa's trousers so it looks like he's wagging his elf at passers-by.
Maybe you're just lazy. Maybe you plain can't be bothered. I can sympathize; I've been there, too. But in my case it was a string of white lights in my backyard maple and I played it off as an example of my decorative flair. You can't do that with gold-bedecked faux greenery stapled to the front porch. Too lazy? Perhaps Santa will be too lazy to fill your stocking next Christmas, too.
Or maybe it's not your fault. Maybe the extension cord to your gently lowing wire-and-lights reindeer is frozen under a snowbank. And you're mortified. Duly noted. But people are still judging you, so start boiling the kettle. (And you people with ratty old Christmas trees frozen upright in the snowbanks outside your houses? You're on the shit list, too.)
The rest of you? I know what you're thinking, those of you who are enjoying---still---looking at the primary-colour ornaments you hung on the woody stalks of your forsythia the first weekend in December, those of you pausing at the pleasure of the net lights which you smothered your rhododendron with---saints alive, November. You're thinking: Lighten up, lady. What's the big deal?
Big deal? Back to the safety issue.
And believe me, it is a safety issue. Because winter's psychological end is only getting delayed by your supposedly festive reminders. They are not cheerful. They are not jolly. Not quirky. Not a sign of how much you love the season. Not a sign of how seriously you take your rejoicing in the birth of our lord Jesus Christ. It's nearly Easter, for Zebedee's sake. And, honestly, it feels like you've had those decorations up for 33 years. Oh, it's a safety issue, alright. Because the rest of us are gonna friggin' blow.
Some, in fact, already have.
Jeff Rogers, who's the Halifax cop lucky enough to have to answer questions about this kind of stuff, (by title, he's regional co-ordinator of by-law enforcement) says his department gets a few calls a year---"If I had to guess, it would be 10 or 12 Christmas ones over the last few years, probably."
And most of the squawking, he says, is about neighbours slow on the uptake when it comes to undecking the halls (lawns, roofs, front steps, back porch, driveway, etc., etc.). "Hmmm...how do I word this? Most of them are people who think that they are still out and they shouldn't be. The odd one is that they are left out and they are strewn about the neighbourhood. Which is a little bit more legitimate."
Is Rogers saying that it's not a good use of taxpayer bucks to go hunting after people who are aiming for a literal Christmas in July?
"Well," he says, "it really doesn't fit the [Dangerous and Unsightly] legislation. We get the complaint and we definitely go and take a look at it. But just because someone has ornaments on their house doesn't make it unsightly."
Staff Sergeant Robin McNeil puts a finer point on it: "I can't even think of how extreme that scenario would be for us to consider it a valid complaint. It would have to be almost the Griswolds in June, for it to be a problem."
Then I guess I'll just have to wait until June to place my call.
Send your late Christmas greetings to email@example.com.