Monday, December 1, 2008


We spent the afternoon yesterday putting up the Christmas tree and other holiday decorations in the house. However, I usually keep my outside Christmas decorations to a minimum. This year, I have a string of colored snowflake lights strung across the screened-in porch, and on the front of the house, between the two upstairs windows, is a large wreath. Fifteen minutes - - outside decorating done.

I know that there are some people that go to a whole lot more trouble to make sure that everyone knows that they are in the Christmas spirit. I do indeed admire those folks that literally spend hours putting together a tastefully decorated lights display for the outside of their home. Notice I mentioned the words “tastefully decorated.” I understand that though not everyone holds the same idea of what constitutes beautiful, it seems that when it comes to Christmas light decorating, there is simply no standard in place. To each his own, blah, blah, blah - - I get it. But since this IS my blog, I guess I can talk about my own standard of beauty, right?

I think that some people simply lack the sense that tells them when they have reached a good stopping place. At what point is one more light string just one too many? When does your home cease to become an attractive outdoor display of holiday cheer and instead become something that could be mistaken for a small town’s airport landing strip? When does someone decide that simply outlining the roof is no longer good enough, and instead, it is necessary to make stripes of lights on the roof? Do people who completely overdo it with lights and wooden lawn stuff and blow up Santas and such really think it looks good, or are they trying to be funny? At what point do the decorations cease to be attractive and become something that conjures up an image of Clark Griswold?

The thoughts that follow are not law - -they are just my thoughts. If you want to create a winter wonderland disaster in your yard, you go right ahead. Just don’t be mad when I drive by and laugh at it.

My thoughts on Christmas light displays:

1) Pick a color scheme and stick to it. If you want to use multi-colored lights or white lights or red lights or blue lights- - feel free. But don’t mix them.

2) Buy strings of lights and use them. Those blanket lights look terrible. Period.

3) Those light-up deer only look good if you are viewing them from a distance. If you have it placed fifteen feet from the road, it looks like a hunk of twisted metal with lights on it.

4) Having a nativity scene three feet away from an upside down Santa stuck in a chimney with his underwear showing is a little disturbing and causes me to question your sanity a little bit.

5) If you can only reach half-way up the tree to string the lights, then don’t. Just stringing the tree trunks looks ok - - but don’t do the branches if you can only reach up 6 feet on a 9 foot tree.

6) Ditto for a pine tree. If the tree is 8 feet tall, don’t string the bottom five feet with lights and leave the rest.

7) If the Christmas inflatable thing that you bought for your yard takes up approximately ¼ of your lawn and you are not able to pay the phone bill this month because of the cost of it, please consider doing without.

8) A wooden cut out depiction of a reindeer peeing on your tree? How charming.

9) I’m really serious about those blanket lights. You’re not fooling anyone with those ugly things.

10) If your home can seen from space, or if you have to pay your electric bill in installments come January, maybe you should seriously reconsider the amount of lights you put out for Christmas.

OK – I think that’s the end of my list. Anyone else out there have any?

Just a few examples of some "over the top" Christmas decorating - - after all, nothing says, "Welcome Baby Jesus" like lights that rival the Vegas strip . . . .


kristin said...

Totally agree about the blanket lights. I hate those things. They look terrible. And I agree with all your other points too. I can't for the life of me figure out what makes people buy those huge inflatables. Dan and I always joke every year that we are going to by each other one.

Julianne said...

My kids get so freakin' excited when they see obnoxious Christmas lights that I can't help but love them, inflatables and all.

Oh, and for the record, we use blanket lights on our hedges. We have huge hedges that line the road in front of our house and we cover them, completely, in white blanket lights. Do you know how crappy that would look with string lights? It looks good. DAMN good. Ask anyone.

Geez Scrooge. Have yourself a cup of freakin' Christmas cheer.

Teresa said...

You would love our neighbors down the street, they have a herd of the light up deer in their front yard. I could reach out of the car and probably touch them! It makes their whole yard glow like it's 2 in the afternoon, plus they have an inflatable Santa next to them!

Becky said...

Julianne - - I am sure your blanket lights are the exception to the rule. REALLY.

Becky said...

my kids love obnoxious Christmas lights too . . . but they also once loved the Wiggles, so there is no accounting for good taste

uncle doug said...

I sorta liked the Wiggles, too. But I suppose that's not pertinent to the present discussion, is it?
I'm with you on the lights, though: less is indeed more. Although I'm considering a drive to Tennessee this weekend just to see Julianne's exceptional lights.

Julianne said...

From Uncle Doug: "I'm with you on the lights, though: less is indeed more."

This from a man who went to the trouble to build an entire Christmas tree out of Rolling Rock bottles. Hmmm...

And, if you guys do decide to come to TN, prepare to eat your words. EAT YOUR WORDS!

Elijah's Mom said...

Hi! I found your blog via Karen, and love it. :) I completely agree about decorating halfway up the tree - it looks crazy! Glad I'm not the only one that thinks that!

uncle doug said...

I didn't really build that tree; it was just a picture I found on Google. Anyone who knows me knows that I would have made it from Heineken bottles! Still I tend to believe that less is more. I'm thinking of putting a string of minilights on Stuart, though. Just haven't figured out yet how to keep him plugged in.

If I do decide to make the trek to Tennessee, can I just follow the glow in the southern sky?

papadale said...

I'm lovin' the comments, too bad Springfield Il. is so far from Cleveland Tn., Uncle Doug and Ms. J. could have a judged contest. Blanket lights vs. Beer bottles. We had a P.B.R. tree in our College apartment, convinced the landlady we had picked up the cans to clean up the neighborhood.