A Community Christmas Carol (Sort Of)

Published on: December 10, 2014

‘Twas six weeks before Christmas, but in all areas common,
The voices of residents already were hummin’
With gripes about what should be hung on the walls,
Installed or removed from the floors and the halls.

In one lobby corner, Mrs. Jones with great care,
Had placed a large Santa, inflated with air.
A few feet away several elves vied for space,
With symbols of Kwanzaa on a ledge draped with lace.

On the opposite wall a menorah gleamed brightly,
Next to lights, red and green, blinking off and on nightly.
“Peace to all!” a neon sign blazed with great feeling,
‘Neath a sled swinging wildly from a rope on the ceiling.

Wreaths by the score and tinsel abounding,
Covered the hallways and areas surrounding.
An aluminum tree reached toward the sky,
“A nice touch,” groaned Mr. Sims as he tried to squeeze by.

The view from the outside wasn’t much better,
In their own space, what restraint owners felt was unfettered.
Bells, stars, and lights of all styles and colors,
Adorned building walls from one end to the other.

While some balconies remained mercifully bare,
Others groaned with the weight of decorations crammed there
As holiday baubles dangled intrusively,
From areas set aside for owners’ uses exclusively.

Wires hanging at odd angles from trees where they wound,
Created fire hazards all over the grounds.
The results were amazing, appalling, outlandish,
The situation, most agreed, was quite out-of-handish.

Around the pool in the park Santa’s reindeer were huddling,
Surrounded by board members, who clearly were struggling
To respond to the cries of residents’ voices,
Raised in angry debate over decorative choices.

“I think it’s just lovely,” Mrs. Jones was squealing,
“It’s ugly!” Mr. Smith snapped, his ire ill concealing.
“You have no Christmas sprit,” one owner snorted
“And you have no taste!” another retorted.

“What to do, what to do,” the trustees were fretting,
The growing discord had all of them sweating.
When above the cacophony one voice sounded clearly,
With advice and a plan this group needed dearly.

 

“What’s required,” the voice said, “to end this commotion,
“Are some reasonable guidelines that will curb bizarre notions.
“You should encourage displays both humorous and pensive,
“Just make sure they’re not dangerous, annoying, or offensive.”

“So off with the lights that twinkle all night,
“Disturbing the sleep of everyone in sight.
“Off too with the figures as tall as the doors,
“And away with the winter scenes crowding the floors.
“Get rid of those pumpkins as long as you’re at it,
“They’ve been here since last year and we’ve all about had it!”

“But there’s no need to ban decorations completely,
“No need to make everyone mad,” the voice said sweetly.
“You don’t have to play scrooge, just set sensible limits,
“You can guide owners’ displays without dashing their spirits.”

“Remember the season you’re celebrating here,
“The idea,” said the voice,” is to encourage good cheer,
“A sense of community, signs that we care,
“Respect for our differences and for values we share.”

With those final words the voice faded away,
And we’ve never identified the source to this day.
But the holidays since have arrived without strife,
For keeping the peace, just a few rules suffice,

Along with the message we all heard that night,
From the voice that remained then and now out of sight.
Happy holidays to all, may the memory of its reasons,
Bring you peace, joy, and love in this and all seasons

By Nena Groskind