By Shaunna Murphy, Hollywood.com Staff
Everyone needs to go hug their ornament-loving sibling or Christmas sweater-enthusiast mom, stat. Because no matter how heinous the Rudolph jumper, or how off-key the ""Baby It's Cold Outside,"" it won't even begin to compare to the twinkly horror you'll see on TLC (The Learning Channel, if you're into irony) special, My Crazy Obsession: Christmas Collection. Having never seen a full episode of Honey Boo Boo or Toddlers and Tiaras, I came into this special with a sense of morbid curiosity, and came out with a therapy appointment and newfound appreciation for my own relatively sane existence. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for not dropping me off at Grandad's four days a week every holiday season in order to run a 13-acre inflatable Christmas decoration farm. Or fighting nonstop over which is better snowmen (excuse me, snow people), or nutcrackers. (Yes, both of these things actually happen.)
See, I've never been that into TLC, because televised exploitation makes me nervous. But this time I mean, it was Christmas collecting! How depressing could it be? The answer to that question as with most things in life was muddled.
The most disturbing part of these people's more-than-crazy obsessions aren't the objects of their affections themselves (because, after all, everyone loves Christmas lights), it's the amount of time and money they pour into it. Charlie from New Jersey who, admittedly, has the most badass Christmas light display I've ever seen, and I'm totally going to drive by and see it canceled two vacations with his wife, Connie, who ended up going alone. He puts in 80 hours per week from May through October to prepare for the light show, which, hilariously, is set to a 35-minute loop of classical Christmas hits and TECHNO MUSIC (his choice). Disturbing Factor: 2/5. If I were his wife I'd put my foot down re: the whole vacation thing, but if Charlie curbs his spending and speaks to a therapist, I think he might be okay.
Next there's Shay, who has put up 168 Christmas trees inside her home, much to the dismay of the husband she is somehow still married to. (""I talk to the trees all the time,"" she says. ""They deserve every light burning. They're like, 'Hey, am I pretty?'"") She has spent over $100k on the trees which are all fake, though she sees them as being real since 1982. But this isn't even the craziest thing about Shay Shay is a hairdresser, yet her 20-something daughter sports a bowl cut. Wild. Disturbing Factor: 3/5. While Charlie's wife wasn't happy about the vacation thing, she still obviously supported him not so much with Shay's husband. I mean the woman fills his entire house with Christmas trees, and speaks to them as if they're people. Also, Shay tells us that she doesn't speak to her extended family (her deceased father was into trees), so the trees are clearly a way for her to cope with that. Sad.
Arguably the most outwardly insane couple are Jacinta and Aaron, who have been arguing over snow-people and nutcrackers for years. We meet Jacinta as she's pulling up to a shave ice truck, because she fills her refrigerator with snow people made out of the foodstuffs. This stuff can't be made up, folks. Her husband became jealous of her snow people years ago, and on a trip to Egypt, he came back with his own, ""manly"" obsession $500 nutcrackers. What's horrible about this is that the couple has two teenage-looking daughters, and they're totally blowing the girls' college funds. Oh, and Jacinta is shown sleeping with a giant, light-up snowman. In her bed. With her husband. Disturbing Factor: 4/5. At least they're in it together. Plus, Jacinta's snowmen are cheap, so if she can take charge and limit her husband's spending, maybe their concerned daughters can have a lucrative future. Still, I would never, ever want to go to their house. Shudder.
Finally, we met Christy and Steven. This couple displays about 5,000 inflatables (which retail at anywhere from $25 to $150, based on my extensive Googling) in their Mississippi yard, and deflate each one every night to protect them from rain. Just in case bad weather does come along, they invite Pastor Rick to PRAY FOR THEIR INFLATABLES. Disturbing Factor: 5/5. This couple has young children, who they drop at their grandparents' house four nights a week, because, admittedly, they don't have enough time to spend with the boys during the months they spend on the inflatables.
Well, there you have it. What kind of crazy s*** does your family do over the holidays? I'm going to run off and give my Aunt Lee a hug, because having to sing ""Happy Birthday"" to Jesus will seem way less painful this year.
Follow Shaunna on Twitter @HWShaunna
[PHOTO CREDIT: TLC]
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