And there's a gorilla in our living room.
Any reasonable person might ask, "Why is there a gorilla in your living room?" The unreasonable answer is, "He visits us every Christmas."
About nine years ago, Nick and I threw a big anti-Christmas Christmas party built around the theme of a Tahitian disco. It's not that we dislike Christmas; it's the same-old-same-old Christmas decorations we'd grown tired of. So we bought two faux palm trees with white lights in them to serve as our Christmas tree, with a leopard-print sheet wrapped around their base. (Leopard print, in my opinion, is suitable for any occasion, especially Christmas.)
We pulled out white ceiling lights and replaced them with green, blue, and yellow bulbs. We bought a big disco ball and hung it from the ceiling. Our dining area monkey chandelier dripped with plastic leis. Paper pineapples proliferated, to the extent that our living room resembled a tiny Dole plantation. We didn't go over the top, because there was no top for us to go over.
The party was a hit. We held onto all the decorations. And every Christmas since then, we bring out a subset of them to transform our living room into a Tiki hut.
About a month ago, we came to a crossroads. While cleaning out our garage, we pulled out our traditional faux Christmas tree. We hadn't used it since 2003, the year of our big Tahitian party. It was taking up space. So the question arose: Keep it or donate it? After the briefest of pauses, we looked at each other and added the traditional Christmas tree to our Salvation Army pile.
Oh yes, you're wondering about the gorilla.
He's a life-sized cardboard cutout that Nick discovered in a party shop when buying decorations for our Tahitian disco. Every Christmas, he is unfolded and propped up to silently witness the shenanigans around him. He is ingeniously named "Christmas Gorilla."
On a few occasions, Christmas Gorilla has come out at other times of the year. When a close friend of ours was recuperating in the hospital from surgery, Christmas Gorilla went with us to visit her. Even the nurse, who had presumably seen many strange things in her line of work, took a look at our friend and said, "I've seen some jackasses in the hospital before but never a gorilla."
On New Year's Day, we fold Christmas Gorilla, wrap him back up in black garbage bags, and store him behind a tall Japanese tansu. The Tiki hut is transformed back into a living room, and another year begins.