Normally, a note from a neighbour around Christmas can warm your heart, but it was the opposite feeling for Cheryl Dinse when she opened her mailbox in Sooke on Wednesday.
“It was addressed to ‘Occupant’,” says the retired Dinse.
The note was a scathing criticism of Dinse’s home, which she lavishly decorates every December. “We add a little bit more each year,” she says. “This year it’s the two reindeer on the pillars and the two little red reindeer.”
The anonymous letter starts with the line “Why don’t you give our neighbourhood a break?” and goes on to describe Dinse’s decorated home as “the joke of the neighbourhood”.
“It uses some pretty offensive language,” says Dinse, who reads the end of the letter aloud. “It looks more like Santa’s whorehouse or a Christmas abortion. Tone it down a bit!”
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Dinse says the letter made her feel nervous and afraid that someone would vandalize her home. She posted it to the Facebook page, “The New Sooke Social,” where she’s received hundreds of messages of support from members.
“It makes me proud to live in Sooke,” she says.
Dinse says dedicating herself to decorating this year helped take her mind away from a family tragedy.
“I lost one of my children a couple of months back and by doing this I could concentrate so much on setting it all up.”
The letter was stamped and postmarked, so the sender also went to the trouble of mailing it. Dinse says she has no idea who could have sent it, but doesn’t plan on toning it down for next year.
“I’ll probably add a little bit more,” she laughs.