The business of spreading cheer.

Having just read the post at Garden Rant about the lady in New York who decorates her front yard with fake flowers and Christmas trees we come to this article in The Washington Post. People are putting “giant, sprawling greeting cards on front lawns for birthdays and anniversaries.” According to the Post “This is a new way people in the suburbs talk to each other. Even though they spend more time hunkered down indoors with computers and flat-screen TVs, 21st-century suburbanites still want to communicate with their neighbors (and anyone else who happens to drive by).” With all the talk about suburban gardening and gardens we have had on this blog and others it’s interesting to see this trend and ask, what’s it all about?

Unlike the lady in New York, who I believe decorates her house the way she does to irritate the neighbors, these signs seem harmless enough and won’t be there for more than a couple of days. What I find so interesting is the statement that “this is the way people in the suburbs talk to each other.” This statement by Dawn Coolahan, who installs the signs say’s it all, ‘sure, this stuff is in your face,’ Coolahan says of the great public celebration playing out on the nation's cul-de-sacs. ‘This is what the business of spreading cheer is all about.’”

This is the state of American suburban living? Yelling, look at me, it’s my birthday, anniversary, whatever. Spreading cheer is all about "in your face", over the top, yelling at your neighbors, and if you don’t find this stuff cheerful then you just an old Scrooge. “Once upon a time, a blue ribbon tied on a mailbox was enough to announce a baby boy's arrival. Today, towering fiberglass storks plunked down in front of a house broadcast the name and weight of the latest family member”, says The Post. Back then you would see the ribbon, and stop to talk to the neighbor and get more details. Now you can put all the details on the giant sign and avoid talking to the neighbor’s altogether. I cant wait till these cards come with audio messages.

I love the last paragraph of the article, “Then there was the woman who did not appreciate the six-foot 40th-birthday card sent by her husband. It was called "Out to Pasture" and featured a chubby black-and-white cow. "I guess she was not happy about turning 40," Coolahan says. "She asked us to come and remove it right away."

Maybe it’s not about turning 40; maybe it’s about announcing it to the whole neighborhood with a tacky card. Hey hubby, tackiness is still tackiness, despite the size of the card.