As the neighbor of Bob Dylan, author and journalist Merrill Markoe has become a celebrity reporter of sorts. For over a decade, she’s documented and analyzed the folk singer’s Christmas lights outside his Malibu home, and this year’s interpretation — Markoe’s last ever — has finally arrived.

From half-assed string lights to basic plaster nativity scenes, Dylan’s decorations have prompted Markoe to ask one simple question: “What does it mean?” But the task has proven gruesome as the years have gone by. “Because people keep bugging me, here are you-know-who’s Xmas lights. For THE VERY LAST TIME,” Markoe wrote on Twitter. “But I can no longer take the strain of trying to translate such an obscure method of communication. See thread for my LAST interpretation EVER.”

This year, Dylan resorted to a simple strand of multicolored bulbs adorning some manicured privacy bushes. According to Markoe’s analysis, each bulb represents a different event in Dylan’s life over the course of 2021 — and, if there’s any truth to this, his year wasn’t too different from the rest of ours.


From multiple potential COVID exposures, to politically-charged gripes, to binging The Beatles: Get Back, the truth is in Dylan’s lighting: Stars really are just like us. See photos of his annual Christmas display, along with Markoe’s analysis, below.

Maybe we can forgive Dylan’s slack decor this year considering his busy schedule. After finally doing his first livestream concert earlier this year, the 80-year-old musician just wrapped up the latest leg of his “Never Ending Tour.”