Mexico Life
Inflatable Santa The peak of holiday cheer or the stuff of nightmares?

When you find yourself adrift in a sea of Christmas yard displays

For the writer's taste, some Mazatlecos go over the top with the winter holiday decorations

Christmas without drifting snow and icy roads just doesn’t feel like Christmas to me. Admiring lavish holiday displays while wearing shorts and sandals is very incongruous and somewhat bewildering.

So, to keep from becoming a more deeply disturbed person, I have trained my aging and addled mind to disassociate Christmas from snow and cold. I now connect the season simply with inflatable decorations and garish displays.

Each Christmas, I am always astounded by the sheer numbers and wide assortment of blow-up yard art in Mazatlán and probably throughout Mexico. These things come in all shapes and sizes, with the larger ones having their own little compressors to keep them fully inflated.

The upside is that they are easy to store 10 months of the year, but on the downside, they can be exceptionally tacky. Besides having all the standard Christmas themes — Jesus, the Three Wise Men, Santa, reindeer, et cetera, there are also a myriad of inflated cartoon characters scattered across the roofs and patios of town.

I find myself wondering what Bugs Bunny or Mickey and Pluto have to do with Christmas. I guess not everyone can afford the seven-foot Santas that are so prolific in the walled compounds of the wealthy.

yard decorations in Mazatlan
Mazatlan homes can go all out with Christmas yard decorations. File photo

Signs of the holidays have been steadily on the rise since mid-September and peaked with the extravagant exhibits of lights and inflatable decorations in gated communities. There are several streets in the high-dollar neighborhoods, where it became the land of competing Christmas displays, complete with individual soundtracks.

I have seen a larger-than-life Santa kicking a soccer ball, waving from an inflated sleigh, going down an inflated chimney and stuffing an inflated reindeer down an inflated chimney. Many others simply stand in mute testimony to the season at hand.

Both life-sized and miniature Nativity scenes will share a space with an inflated Snow White and seven blow-up dwarfs. A blow-up display of the Warner Brothers cartoon character Wile E. Coyote can be seen chasing another one of his perennial prey, The Roadrunner, among Santa’s air-filled reindeer.

The largest displays will have 30 or more of these egregious bags of air spread across all available roof and yard surfaces, along with every shrub and tree festooned with thousands of lights.

There is only one house in Mazatlán’s center that has been following in the footsteps of the privileged, and it becomes more ostentatious each year.

It used to be a light show only, but now the roof is sprouting inflatables like ticks on a street dog, bloated and leering.

house of Julio Preciado in Mazatlan
Even banda star Julio Preciado’s home in Mazatlán is known to get into the holiday act. This was how his house looked last year at Christmastime.

Each year at this time, I have recurring nightmares where Mazatlán is savagely overrun by blow-up decorations from the dark side. Fortunately, a moderate amount of tequila can assuage these inherent fears.

Although the fervor of Christmas is now becoming but a din in the past, there will still be a few inflatables out there, neglected and sagging. With their little compressors unplugged, the Three Wise Men, once proud holiday icons, will resemble the Marx Brothers on acid.

So … in the spirit of the season, or whatever you may choose to call it, please accept, without obligation implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of this winter holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion, secular practices or pagan ceremonies of your choice, with respect for the persuasion and/or traditions of others, human or animal — or their choice not to practice religious or secular or pagan traditions at all.

I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and pain-free entry into the generally accepted calendar year 2022, but not without proper respect for the calendars of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make the world what it is, whether we like it or not.

In addition, this wish is made without regard to the race, color, age, political doctrine, physical ability, mental acuity, religious faith, gender or sexual preference of the wishor or wishee.

Bodie Kellogg was last seen wrestling with a life-sized inflatable Christmas decoration that strongly resembled Betty Boop. It appears that his zeal for the holiday season is truly unbridled. He also describes himself as a very middle-aged man who lives full-time in Mazatlán with a captured tourist woman and the ghost of a half-wild dog. He can be reached at [email protected].

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