Saturday, December 11, 2021

Still Life with Robin: Cute or Corny? The Blow-up Decoration Dilemma - Part 2: The People Have Spoken

by Peggy Robin

In last week's column I asked for votes, yay or nay, on those blow-up Santas, snowmen, elves, reindeer and other inflatable yard decorations that you see on the front lawns of houses more and more around this time of year.  

I wouldn't say I had a lot of responses -- maybe a dozen -- but they were for the most part, resoundingly negative. Just one mixed review and one enthusiastic yes.  Here are some representative quotes (no names attached, at the request of one correspondent who said, "I don’t want to be The Grinch.")

I find these plastic blow-ups cheap and trashy.  Wouldn't a string of lights that you string along the front of your porch roof cost about as much as that stupid-looking Santa with the outrageously swollen feet?

A big “nay” on these things. Corny, crappy and much too cartoony. And they look cheap, even if they are not. Curious if they survive more than one season before springing a leak and ending up in a landfill. Thinking it would be appropriate for the Historical Society to ban them from its district in the interest of historical purity.

They're plastic. I'm told not to use plastic straws. I'm told to bring my cloth bag to the supermarket. (etc). 

Tacky and unattractive. I used to love to see the lights on houses and wreaths on the doors at this time of year. Now the lights are less of a thing, and big plastic Santas dominate the decorating scene. Too bad.

I vote no. I see more of them every year but I don't find myself growing fonder of them, just the opposite.

Not a fan of these inflatable things. Worried that they will blow over in the wind. I have seen this happen....

Here's the one mixed view:

I....think it’s absurd how expensive they are, but my kids love them!  We have two (a gingerbread man and a snowman) on Appleton, and we walk by the Star Wars display on Albemarle as often as possible.  The best house to check out is on Yuma and 47th or 48th.  That house has the best decorations year round (Memorial Day, Easter, Halloween).  It is always festive and we look forward to seeing it on our way to and from the pediatrician.  It takes away the sting of the shots as we admire the decorations. 

And the only yes vote: 

Yes, and they are fun for children and are totally Chistmasy! Hope DC doesn't go all HOA on our neighborhoods. That would be very Scroogy. 

To end on a positive note -- we appear to be united in our love of lights!


Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.


  1. Bah humbug! With all that's going on in the world, feels a little grumpy to have such negative opinions about something as simple as holiday decorations. They bring a lot of people joy and if you're not one of them, you are certainly entitled to your opinion of people's relative taste, but to use a neighborhood blog/listserv to post photos of neighbors decorations a small subset find tacky doesn't exactly go with the spirit of the season.
    Happy holidays all!

  2. Another nay vote: I saw a huge plastic blow-up nativity scene a couple of days ago. Truly offensive.

  3. Enjoying all the Christmas decorations, fun to drive around with little ones viewing. People get more creative every year, more humorous. One on Fulton St has Darth Vader as part of the Nativity scene! Jesus could've used a lightsaber. (Also better food at the Last Supper.)

    Our Xmas wish: please keep the lights up during January, the worst, darkest, most useless month in the calendar! ������

  4. I don't even celebrate Christmas but LOVE all the lights, corny blow ups, etc. A little joy in life, even if someone else's is sorely needed these days.

  5. Place those garish things in your back yards for the kiddies if you must. Spare the rest of us please.

  6. Oh that lil penguin is darling, and I hope kids wave back at Santa Claus