At this moment, there are nearly 90 bunnies in the first floor of our home. Thankfully, they’re not live ones (or formerly live ones), but everywhere I turn I see stuffed animal bunnies, porcelain bunny figurines, hand-painted bunny cutouts. It’s as if someone dropped a rabbit grenade in our living room.
This many bunnies can only mean one thing: Easter is coming. After all, if it was any other time of year, there’d only be 40 bunnies. 45, tops.
When I was growing up, we never really decorated our house for specific occasions. Sure, we might put up a cheap plastic banner for someone’s birthday now and again, and back when we grew pumpkins in our backyard one of them might find its way onto our doorstep for Halloween, but that was about it. I guess seasonal decorating just wasn’t our style.
Then I met Denise. For Christmas, she’ll pull out the tree and three large tubs’ worth of ornaments and decorations. Halloween begets two tubs. It’s clovers for St. Patrick’s Day, flags for the 4th of July, leaves and cornucopias for Thanksgiving.
And when Easter rolls around, out come the bunnies. That is to say, out come more bunnies. You see, Denise has been collecting rabbits for many years, and loves them too much to keep them all hidden away like the rest of her decorations. Some stay out year-round. Only in spring will she dip into the rest of her collection and make it seem as though the little long-eared rascals multiplied overnight.1
Coming from a decoration-deficient family, I could grasp why someone might go all out in preparation for their favorite holiday, but not why some people adorned their homes for each and every one. I’d always figured their enthusiastic over-decorating was either a way to fill some other void in their lives, or an innate need to show off to friends and neighbors. It never occurred to me that they might truly enjoy the process.
Denise will pull out all three tubs of Christmas decorations even if she plans to be out of town the entire holiday season, and no one but me and her will see any of it. She loves putting up the decorations for each holiday, and the holidays themselves feel more real to her when she’s surrounded by their accoutrements. I might always think the whole thing’s a little silly, but then I see how much enjoyment it brings her, and I get it.
So I’ll put down my musket. The bunnies can stay.
1 And she could easily have them multiply to far more than 90. Think of it like an art gallery’s permanent collection: Only a fraction is on display at any time.