The Griswold Syndrome

My next door neighbor Tom has a passion for holiday decorations. He goes all out, particularly at Halloween and Christmas. My Arranger had misgivings about all that when we moved in, but we have both grown to enjoy it. I have to…for sanity’s sake. He works hard to have the most decorations in our community.

Each year he invites all in the community to see the decorations and to bring the little ones to visit with Santa on a Sunday afternoon before Christmas. He and his wife Pam and their boys fill their dining room with Christmas goodies for the visitors. He asks families to make a donation…not to help with what must be an enormous electric bill, but to make a gift to the Children’s Hospital. One of our other neighbors plays a marvelous Santa for the children. He does it so well that for many years even his own granddaughter did not recognize him.

Over the years Santa has arrived in fun ways. One year he was on the back seat of an open BMW convertible. Another he came on the local fire engine. This year he arrived in a police car. As he emerged, he thanked the officer for removing his handcuffs, to the delight of the crowd of kids who welcomed him.


Please take a moment to share in the wonder of what I have to live next to every year:

To give some idea of the degree of my neighbor’s excellence in decoration, he was awarded the coveted “Griswold Award” by our community.


We can’t wait till next year to see what new things Tom will add. He’s already looking to see where he can add more lights. Why does he keep looking at my house?


About johnvic8

John Viccellio retired after 24 years in the U. S. Navy and began to dig into gardening when he could finally land in one place. He completed the Master Gardener course in 1992 and has since designed and constructed two of his own gardens. He wrote a monthly garden column for ten years and was a regular contributor to Carolina Gardener magazine. John published his first book, Guess What's in My Garden!, in 2014. He lives in Stallings, NC with his wife, in close proximity to six of his eight grandchildren.
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6 Responses to The Griswold Syndrome

  1. This is truly “an amazing sight,” as Corduroy the Bear, in the children’s story, would say. I LOVE the little girl greeting Santa upon his arrival who came decked out in her Christmas dress, tights, and shoes. So nice that ‘dressing up’ is still part of Christmas traditions. Living next door to a blue ribbon festival of lights definitely puts you in jeopardy for the future. The Griswold’s will barter gardening for putting up YOUR lights.


  2. Cathy says:

    Oh I had to smile at this John – and I have to admire Tom for his efforts as regardless of what I might think of massive displays like this it is indeed astonishing – thanks for sharing 🙂


  3. johnvic8 says:

    Thanks, Cathy. I had to share…it’s too much fun to keep quiet.


  4. Cathy says:

    John – I will not beat around the bush. I can only send you my deepest sympathy and rejoice in the fact that I do not have to live next door to this man. The thing is – I have one next door to me too … I pretend he is not there, he pretends I am not there. All is well. Merry Christmas and very, very best wishes to you and the lovely ‘Arranger’! xxx


  5. johnvic8 says:

    Thank you, Cathy, for your sympathy and well wishes. We have learned to live with it. And very best wishes for a Blessed Christmas to you and yours.


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