Yvonne Abraham

The nightmare long before Christmas

REVERE — At first, I thought it was a migraine coming on.

There, on a hill overlooking Route 145 in Revere, was a seizure-inducing mass of flashing lights. Sometimes candy does this to me. But Halloween was just a couple of days earlier, and I’d barely gotten halfway through my kid’s goody-bag. I looked again. There was no mistaking it: The house on Hillside Avenue was getting its Christmas on. In the first week of November.

This cannot stand! I like my Halloweens in October, my Thanksgivings in November, my Christmases in December. I don’t need my make-or-buy-weapon-or-no-weapon-costume stress messing with my brine-or-don’t-brine-dear-God-how-could-I-eat-that-much-turkey anxiety. And I certainly don’t want those freak-outs bleeding into my will-the-tree-lights-work-is-my-kid-­ruined-from-too-many-toys worries. I want to ­savor each holiday. I need my anxieties evenly spaced.


Instead, I’m trapped in seasonal Turducken, three holidays in one. The red snowman cups at Starbucks came out on Nov. 1. Ditto the elves on shelves at CVS. The wall-to-wall carols weren’t far behind.

This is Christmas Creep, created by a retail industry stretching the Santa season to gird its bottom lines against snowstorms and the interwebs. That’s why they foisted Black Friday upon us, the fake post-Thanksgiving holiday on which hordes of otherwise normal-ish people leave their families in the wee hours to stampede for Furbys and flat screens.

And now Black Friday is creeping, too. On Nov. 23, stores in some states are moving opening hours up from the unholy hour of 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night — a time hitherto reserved for the sacrament of sitting on the couch watching awful TV with unbuckled belts bested by bellies full of gravy and regret.

I had to do something. I couldn’t fight capitalism, so I went to confront the people in the little white house on Hillside Avenue. Turns out I’m no match for Christmas-loving, salt-of-the-earth types, either. Did you know they make doorbells that play “Jingle Bell Rock”? Adorbs!


“When we grew up, there were always decorations,” said David Adams, the 45-year-old gas station manager who decks the halls, and every other inch of the place. “The kids love it.”

He started decorating 17 years ago, and his display has been growing since. Adams is not done with this year’s extravaganza yet, but his front and two side yards are jammed with light-up reindeer, toy soldiers, giant candy canes, a big sleigh with a singing Santa, another distressingly lifelike Santa who talks — “Special delivery, direct from the North Pole!” — and yet another on the other side of the house. There is a Santa-penguin-snowman inflatable teacup ride, and a huge snow-globe hosting yet more snowmen. There are polar bears, and the Abominable Snowman from the Rankin-Bass TV special (Rudolph was kidnapped a few nights ago — only the second theft in 17 years).

And then there are the lights, which make his red “Santa Stop Here” flag rather redundant, given that you can see the place from space. People love it all, stopping their cars to gawk and take pictures with the Santas.

When you’ve got this much Christmas going on, you have to start early. “We tried to wait till after Thanksgiving, but it snows,” he said. “If the ground gets hard, we can’t bang the stakes in.”

How much is too much? Here Adams was ­cagey. “Right now, we’re just replacing what’s broken,” he claimed. But then: “We’ve talked to the woman next door about using her yard when we run out of room.”


There’s no stopping this guy, or the creeping holiday that gives him joy. Whether I like it or not, ’tis already the season to be jolly.

Fa-la-la-la-la. La.La.La.La.

Yvonne Abraham is a Globe columnist. She can be reached at abraham@globe.com.