It’s the week before Thanksgiving, which means people have been complaining about other folks’ Christmas decorations for almost a month. As I’ve mentioned before, I mind my own business when it comes to other people’s decorating timelines as well as when it comes to when they choose to start listening to holiday tunes.

Well, there was that one year someone in the general neighborhood kept his or her Christmas lights up – and turned them on – well into summer. That did make me turn my head on more than one occasion, but what really caused whiplash was when the neighbor took down the lights in late summer.

I will admit it was none of my business, but I will admit I was also perplexed. If you’ve already committed to more than half the year, what prompts you to go to the trouble of climbing a ladder and removing the lights in August?

Speaking of August…that’s around the same time of the year Hobby Lobby brings out their Christmas merchandise. That’s also the same time of the year I start asking this question: Is there really a market for portraits of Santa Claus?

I guess there is or the store wouldn’t stock them, but who buys a big ole portrait of Santa? Don’t get me wrong. I am a fan of Santa. He spends the entire year making toys for all the good – and I suspect even the bad – boys and girls around the world. Then he somehow delivers all these toys in the span of one night. I know he gets help from Mrs. Claus, oodles of elves, and a team of flying reindeer, but there must be a bit of magic involved. And a few maxed out credit cards.

But that does not mean I want to hang a portrait of him inside my home.

I am not here to judge and, just as with the people who left their lights up until August, this is none of my business. Oh, but how those portraits fascinate me. Every year when I see them, my initial question leads to other questions like: What is the demographic of the Santa portrait purchasers? Are the purchasers parents who buy them for their younglings? If so, why? I know times change, but I don’t remember begging my parents for a portrait of Santa.

Do they keep the portraits up year-round? If not, do they remove a family portrait or a portrait of, let’s say, a fox chase to make room for Santa during the holidays? Do they do so to make Santa feel like he’s one of the family when he shimmies down the chimney on Christmas Eve?

Maybe I’ll ask Santa for answers to these questions for Christmas.

This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.