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Christmas Spirit?

Dear Editor,

I feel the need to share in a Christmas light display that I saw on Saturday night, December 15th -- which is a gift to all Hopland residents, as well as any others that are out enjoying the Christmas light displays with their children -- as I turned onto Harrison Street in Hopland off of Hwy 175. It was so exciting to see that there were several homes lit up. The children I had with me were thrilled. After all, Santa and his reindeer would be here in 11 days!!

Well what to our wondering eyes did appear, but the Hopland Fire Chief's house whose tree hung from it reindeer. One of the children said, "Look, Auntie, two of Santa's reindeer are upside down!!" Then his brother said, "It looks like they're bleeding with those red lights coming out of their mouth's." I couldn't believe what I was seeing. The children were absolutely right. Hopland's Fire Chief had two animated reindeer that were lit up hanging upside down from the tree in his front yard. With red lights going through them coming out of their mouths as if they were bleeding. Sitting below the tree was a baby animated reindeer looking up to what appeared to be dead reindeer. It sickened me. I did my best to try and redirect the children's attention to another house as we drove by. The many other homes that were lit up were very beautiful and festive, and we thank all of Hopland's residents for making it special.

Really though, Hopland's Fire Chief having such a morbid display of lights in his front yard for all to see? As a role model and pillar of the community he has shown complete disrespect for the Christmas season and the joy and wonderment that it brings. As well as a complete smack in the face to all of Hopland's residents and many children that associate the Hopland fire department with Santa.

Finally, if you think that this has no lasting effect on the children I would like to share one more thing with you. As I was putting my nephews to bed after viewing the light displays, my four year old nephew said to me, "Auntie, why did Santa kill his reindeer? And how is he going to fly his sleigh to bring us presents?" Thanks to the Chief of Hopland's Fire Department, visions of sugar plums will not be dancing in my children's heads tonight.

J.M. Craig


  1. Avid Reader December 16, 2013

    WHAT? No pics? Surely someone captured this great moment in Art History . . .

    • Hopland Resident December 22, 2013

      Completely wrong…. Not the display in the front yard, but the complete lack of correct facts. This is NOT Chief John Bartlett’s house. And it is completely irresponsible for this news outlet to turn a letter to the editor into an article and post a picture without checking the facts. I understand people have their right to express their views through letters to the editor, but there are many other homes throughout this county that have the same display in their yards. Why pick on someone who serves the community? Remember that next time you need the fire dept.

  2. Concerned Resident December 22, 2013

    Unbelievable that a resident of Hopland would attack a man who is there to serve and protect them. The house he is describing is in fact not Chief Bartlett’s home. For your paper to publish something that can affect a person’s character and reputation before checking facts is unfathomable.

    As far as your nieces/nephew/children seeing this image.. Did it ever cross your mind to explain to them what this display was? Did freedom of speech ever cross your mind? Just as you had the freedom to write this article, the resident of that house, NOT THE CHIEF, had the right to display what he wanted. Did it ever occur to you to knock on that person’s door and have a civil conversation regarding your disapproval of their decorations?Or better yet, write the above letter to that resident? Did it ever occur to you to resolve the issue without pointing figures and make a public spectacle?

    I find your letter offensive, and I surely will lose sleep tonight thinking about how you can bad mouth a man before you even know the facts. Does that give me the right to blasphemy you?

    • Bruce Anderson December 22, 2013

      We’ve apologized to Captain Bartlett himself, and we deeply regret the error.

      • Hopland Resident December 23, 2013

        It’s Chief Bartlett not Captain!!

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