Painstaking Christmas light displays draw the affection and patronage of entire communities, delighting many a candy-cane-toting child while offering low-hanging fruit to parents on the hunt for "family Christmas outings."
But as starry-eyed tots "ooh" and "ahh" at the intricate illuminations and adornments while carolers bellow out Christmas ballads in tribute, there is one adult who may feel a bit less jolly: the next-door neighbor.
By way of sheer festive force, the spectacle has relegated him, relatively speaking, to Grinch status.
Well, one story reported by WFMY News 2, suggests that not every homeowner has suffered such involuntary Christmas-spirit downgrades lying down. Perhaps in a wry commentary on the possible existence of aggressive Christmas spirit, one Oregon family has taken retaliatory action by erecting a lighted sign that spells "DITTO" with an arrow that points next door.
The home next to the family has featured an elaborate Christmas display that has grown famous over the years for its fine level of detail and craftsmanship. WFMY News 2 reports that the owners custom-paint all the decorations and play Christmas tunes to further brighten the mood.
"You just can't compete with that," said Courtney Clarke, a member of the Beaverton, Ore., told Oregon's Fox 12 TV station, even though the very fact that she appeared on camera would seem to belie the statement.
As it turns out, that family isn't the first to use this tongue-in-cheek response to over-the-top holiday displays. In fact, the Oregon family admits that they got the idea from photos of similar displays that she saw online. A 2009 Daily Mail story reported that Dave Nosek realized that any conventional display he could muster would pale in comparison to his neighbor's arrangement. So pulling a David-and-Goliath fast one he too spelled "DITTO" with lights, installing the lighted word (with an arrow) above his garage.
Despite the passive-aggressive tone of their displays, both Nosek -- whose light display stole the spotlight from his neighbor, according to The Daily Mail -- and the Oregon family have insisted that their responses to holiday exuberance nextdoor have been in good fun.
"I feel bad," Nosek told The Daily Mail, "Poor guy spends four days putting up his lights and I'm getting all the accolades."
Watch a video of the dueling displays in Oregon below.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misidentified the Oregon family's name as Beaverton, which is actually the city where they reside.