Wineke: Scenes of carnage from Christmas streets

MADISON, Wis. — I had thought that now, with the election passed, our streets would return to tranquility and all would be well.

But what I see when I wander out each morning is a battlefield of colorful carnage.

Piles of expired icons, flat Santas and rumpled Frosties, sit in front of every home. Once towering plastic Christmas trees have now been brought to earth.

That will all change tonight, of course. Like Christmas zombies, all those figures will return to vitality, filled with light and bobbing in whatever breeze may occur.

I’m not quite sure when this all happened, but this year, especially, outdoor Christmas decoration patterns are dominated by inflatable figures.

Across the street from me, two giant Santa figures, each at least 15 feet high, compete for attention. One is flanked by a smiling ghost atop a jack-o-lantern, a Halloween attraction that is, apparently, doing double duty this season.

I don’t really want to disparage these efforts. At night, our street seems truly inviting. Even during the daytime, the deflated figures are no uglier than the leaves on my own front lawn which still await a rake.

But the decorations do display changes in how we do things.

My own offerings tend to be metal deer with a variety of tiny white lights outlining their features. Why I think a white metal deer is superior to a giant red Santa is open to question. What is not open to question is the fact that each year fewer lights illuminate them.

Last year, the bodies and tails were lit but the heads weren’t. If you drove by my house, you saw only a white blob.

Some devout people place giant creche scenes showing illuminated Jesus, Mary, Joseph and, perhaps, a few sheep. No worse than my deer blobs.

By contrast, Maple Bluff and Nakoma are truly boring places to drive through during the holiday season. The residents of those old money or old professorship bastions tend to place a dignified real pine cone wreath over their doors.

If you, on the other hand, want a real treat, drive around a McMansion neighborhood of new, three-car garage homes. Professional landscapers come to these homes with cranes that allow for outdoor lighting that could feel at home in Rockefeller Center.

It’s all part of the season and I love it. But I think I’m going to invest in a new deer this year.