Some people just don’t get the true meaning of Christmas.
They think the reason for the season is buying more stuff at the mall or getting all Martha Stewart-like with their holiday decor. They ignore the spiritual messages about peace and goodwill.
How else do you account for the obnoxious incident that happened to the Beatty family on Christmas Eve? Some mean old Grinch left an anonymous note outside their door on Tuesday criticizing their outdoor Christmas lights, calling them “fake and lazy Christmas decorations.”
I know it’s upscale (and often uptight) Haddonfield, but c’mon.
This family has been through a lot lately. A close relative has a serious heart ailment. Their beloved cat, Bertie, has been missing since July. Angela Beatty, 48, and her daughter were in a car accident Dec. 17.
So they weren’t in the mood to be overly festive with their Christmas lights this year. Still, in honor of a relative who is a 20-year veteran of the New York City Police Department, they tossed some blue LED tube lighting on a holly bush in their front yard and hung a wreath on the door. That should have sufficed, right?
Someone didn’t like it and had the audacity to leave a poorly written letter criticizing their efforts. The writer claimed to have been part of some sort of panel critiquing people’s Christmas decor, praising the houses they like and turning thumbs down on the ones they don’t.
That’s not at all in the holiday spirit.
Whether you celebrate Hanukkah or the birth of Jesus, this is supposed to be a joyful time of year. It’s a season of lights and a time for giving and receiving — but not for giving and receiving nasty letters.
The Beattys’ letter reads in part, “you have received this notice because of Christmas Violation(s) committed against the S & V Panel: Lack of a neat, organized and/or classy Christmas lighting … you have earned this dubious ‘award’ based on certain Christmas flaws that we need improved as noted above. While we appreciate your efforts, we on the S & V panel strive for Christmas excellence and perfection.”
It goes on to say, “Reflect on your flaws this offseason and correct them for next year.” Included with the letter was a box of white Christmas lights “to jump-start your 2020 planning.”
That’s pretty nervy. Especially the bit in the letter about, “We may have moved but we are still evaluating your Christmas efforts!!!!”
Angela Beatty, who works as a continuity director for KYW, was livid.
“It just really struck a nerve, considering everything that’s been going on,” she told me Thursday. “I just thought it was so mean and ignorant.”
Beatty was so outraged that she notified the Haddonfield Police Department and took to social media to complain about it. A couple of news outlets, including the Courier Post, picked up the story.
“I’m deeply disappointed in the fact that somebody felt the need to go out and criticize somebody’s Christmas decorations,” Haddonfield Mayor Neal Rochford told me. “I would think that somebody would have better use of their time [than to try to] make a person feel bad.
“I hope in 2020 there will be a renewal of positivity and friendliness, and for people to be less judgmental.”
The miserable Scrooge who penned that letter is not a total fool. He or she knew better than to sign it.
Unless you live in a historic district or a community with a homeowners association, you don’t get to dictate how other residents decorate their property.
For example, I don’t happen to like inflatables. Blow-up Santas aren’t my thing. So I don’t buy them. But I wouldn’t dare say anything to my neighbors who enjoy them. I mind my business.
In the spirit of the season, that letter writer in Haddonfield should have done the same.