Backstory: I think my Christmas is leaking

The forces of evil have gone too far. They must be stopped, lest the nature of the joyous December season be changed forever.

I am speaking, of course, of the war on Christmas decorations.

OK, it's not a "war," technically speaking, since Donald Rumsfeld's not involved, and "on" might not be the right word either, since it's really more of a conflict between decorations: the tasteful, and the not.

But make no mistake: If the giant inflatable snow globes prevail, the terrorists will have won. Haven't seen 'em? You will. They're the latest in decoration technology - the very phrase is chilling - and quite popular with people whose personal style involves floodlights and lack of restraint.

They're big, clear domes with festive figures inside, like Santa, or Katie Couric. Hidden fans keep the dome inflated and circulate white plastic bits of "snow." Anchored on a roof, with runway lighting and a brace of elves, they're supposed to be merry and bright.

Instead - if you ask me - they inspire dread. It's like your block's been invaded by mother ships from the Planet Of Unfortunate Popular Culture.

Shockingly, they're not illegal. That's what my neighborhood association said at last week's meeting, anyway. Then they criticized my own, scrupulous historical display! As I told them, I've rented Bactrian camels many times before. Usually, they're very well behaved.

Fortunately this is Washington, and help is only a campaign contribution away. By the time you read this, our bill will have been introduced in the House: the Holiday Decoration Defense Act of 2005. We've got 54 co-sponsors, and we're trying to wrap up a web site,

Talking points our coalition has developed for media appearances include:

1. Exposure to Snoopy characters taller than 3 feet can cause lower reading scores in first graders.

2. No major religion worships white plastic bits.

3. Inflatable figures, plus imprisonment in plastic bubbles ... unfortunate reference to Guantánomo Bay detention center?

Contrary to what you may have heard, this is not about restricting people's freedom of aesthetic choice. It's about protecting community property values! And no, I don't know what happened to the 6-foot Grinch globe over on Beechdale. The hoof prints don't prove anything.

Lots of people have Bactrian camels.

Peter Grier is a staff writer for the Monitor in Washington.

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