We may be the only family in America that doesn't watch any of the CSI: Whatever shows, but that doesn't mean we don't conduct our own version of CSI.
Here in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, we conduct CSI: Christmas Scene Investigation.
Yes, we few are are specially trained, ever-vigilant detectives of the worst type of crime of all: inappropriate, out-of-season Christmas decorations, indoors or out.
You know the offenders--and I'm not just talking obvious stuff, like the trailer trash leaving their icicle lights up all year long.
It's the lady next door who leaves her artificial Christmas tree with the doggie decorations up all year long ... cos she wuv her wittle doggie so much....
It's the people who are so danged efficient in their preparations--and I know more than one--and who have so dang much stuff, they feel they have to start early to get it all done. Starting early MIGHT be okay ... IF you don't light it until a less offensive date. But once someone has done all that work, how many can resist showing off their handiwork?
Of course, violations are rampant on a commercial level! What self-respecting capitalist can resist shoving that Halloween merchandise over JUST A LITTLE for those Christmas villages, those blow-up snowmen? And who among us hasn't been offended by even ever-so-tastefully decorated trees--such as I saw in Von Maur just last Friday night--while I was wearing SHORTS? That called for a code red, level ten citation!
What is the CSI violation criteria? In the loosest interpretations, November 1 is the okay date for stores to start displaying merchandise. We who have worked in retail understand the need to prepare!
October one is a code yellow, seriously encroaching on Halloween territory.
Of course, Thanksgiving marks the official, no citations-ever-issued official launch of the season.
But anything in September or before -- that gets reported right to the Big Red Guy.
(You know who I mean. Red uniform. White trim. Disguised by a beard. Works one day a year. THAT guy in the Main Office.)
Of course, you know there are exceptions: Families who celebrate early/late for the sake of loved ones who are leaving/coming home from deployments. No problem with CSI in these cases.
Those stores who are established, all-year-round Christmas stores. For example, all of Frankenmuth, Michigan. And there's a store at Disney World. Ever-so-slight exemptions for gift shops who dedicate a portion of their stores for Christmas decorations--and there are a few who can do this tastefully. We let these slip by.
Also, just west of us on U.S. 30 is a company that makes those big outdoor light displays, such as communities might use in a Christmas lights display. They have a little hill they keep stuff on, and lighted up, all year 'round. We understand this type of commercial venture, and the need to let people see their product, and understand the necessary violation. Excused.
But the neighbor who lets his shrubbery remain lighted, on automatic lights, right through the end of January? COAL IN THE STOCKING FOR THEM!
The city that lets their candy canes remain on their lightposts through February? BUSTED.
The Wal-marts who start putting cheesy plastic Santas on the shelves in October? BOYCOTTED!
Come, join our CSI team. All it takes is an eagle eye for a stray white light, a flash of a red bow. Let Santa know when folks are taking advantage of his season.
So, what are you thinkin' about inappropriate holiday decorations? Will you join our team?