Diana Rowland, 52, says she isn't backing down after she received a letter criticizing her inflatable dragons

By Char Adams
December 20, 2018 12:49 PM
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Credit: Courtesy Diana Rowland

For the past three years, Diana Rowland has set up inflatable dragons on the lawn of her Mandeville, Louisiana, home — dressing them in Santa hats, scarves and wreaths. And the public has loved the display, with children gathering to take photos with the creatures.

But, for the first time since the tradition began in 2015, Rowland says someone sent her “hate mail,” criticizing the beloved dragon inflatables.

“We’ve never had any issues with the neighbors, so it was very surprising,” Rowland tells PEOPLE of the letter she received last Friday. “We got a letter in the mail, the only return address was the name of our neighborhood. I opened it and read it … I was like, ‘Okay, this is really weird.’ ”

Credit: Courtesy Diana Rowland

The letter read: “YOUR DRAGON DISPLAY IS ONLY MARGINALLY ACCEPTABLE AT HALLOWEEN. IT IS TOTALLY INAPPROPRIATE AT CHRISTMAS. IT MAKES YOUR NEIGHBORS WONDER IF YOU ARE INVOLVED IN A DEMONIC CULT. PLEASE CONSIDER REMOVING THE DRAGONS. MAY GOD BLESS YOU AND HELP YOU TO KNOW THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS.”

Rowland shared a photo of the letter and her dragon display on Twitter, writing, “Our dragon holiday display got fan mail! (And apparently the ‘true meaning of Christmas’ involves judgmental bull—-?)”

Rowland, a writer of sci-fi books, says she found the “passive” letter silly and has no plans to take the dragons down. In fact, she tells PEOPLE, Rowland added two more inflatable dragons — bringing the total to five.

“I’m not the type to back down from that kind of really passive aggressive note,” she says. “No. You have an issue, you need to just talk to me.”

Credit: Courtesy Diana Rowland

She shared a photo of the updated display on Twitter.

She wrote in the tweet: “An update to yesterday’s tweet re the letter I received from an anonymous, judgy-mcjudgyface neighbor who disapproved of my dragon display and asked me to consider removing them: I have added more dragons.”

Her initial post has been retweeted thousands of times. And Rowland says she’s gotten supportive messages from social media users everywhere.

“The response has been almost entirely positive,” she says. “I think everyone can relate to the idea of having a weird, judgemental neighbor. So they can relate to my standing up to them.”

With the story now viral, Rowland tells PEOPLE she doesn’t expect to hear from her critic again.

“I think they’re smart enough to just lay low,” Rowland laughs. “I’m not trying to find out who it is. There’s no point. I’m not going to confront them or anything, and I’d never out them on the Internet. I’m gonna let it go.”