Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The unofficial guide to Christmas Lights

"You've taught me everything I know about exterior illumination"

- Clark Griswold to his dad, "National Lampoons Christmas Vacation"

Every neighborhood has its own 'Clark Griswold' - including ours (see pic), who is determined to create the best Christmas light display EVER in his front yard. Living in SW Ohio, the bar here is pretty high - a man in nearby Mason achieved youtube fame when his display was used in last year's Miller Lite commercial. Unfortunately, not every house turns out as well. So, without further ado, here is my unofficial guide to Christmas lights:

1. Pick a Theme - There is nothing more odd than a nativity set next to an inflatable Santa riding a Harley. Also, the mix of reindeer with nativity scenes - camels I get, but reindeer aren't indigenous to the the middle east. A good theme ties all your decor together and gives you ideas for purchases during the after-Christmas sales.

2. Less is More - You really don't need to have every inflatable or every different type of pre-lit reindeer. A nice display allows you to appreciate all the elements, not overload your brain with light. I'm sure the folks in the International Space station have plenty to do without seeing your lights.

3. Don't mix white and multi-color lights - ok, I actually did this... but if you do keep 'em separated. Stringing them in sequence is big no-no!

4. Put away the 1970s - at some point you threw away the silver garland, aluminum tree, and disco ball ornaments. Its time to do the same with your outside stuff. Especially those hard plastic decorations that have faded in the sun beyond recognition.

5. Just because its expensive, doesn't mean its nice - there are some crazy inflatables out there now - and many of them are just crazy! Its tough to shell out $150 bucks on decorations that will be out of style next year. 5a would be that there is a different between 'classic' or 'retro' and 'old junk'... if you can't tell, err on the side of caution.

6. Safety first... or at least in the top 10. Yes, putting Santa and eight tiny reindeers on your roof would make the neighbors jealous - but, if you fall off, they're sure to see the paramedics show up and THAT is never forgotten.

Keep these simple rules in mind and you'll be on your way to top!

If I've offended anybody, I apologize! Just remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder! As long as you are happy with your work (and the neighbors aren't calling the mayor to complain) thats all that matters.


Blogger Stepping On Legos said...

Haha - this is great! I should post pictures of some of my most hated holiday light displayes in our neighborhood. I could have written your list, I coudln't agree more. And I know this will offend people but there is NOTHING more tacky than those inflatables. I have an overwhelming compulsion to carry a bamboo knitting needle with me everywhere I go this time of year and pop them all!! hahaha

9:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post made me laugh. Then I was out delivering cookies this morning and I saw a house that broke every single one of your rules. And I laughed more. It was a perfect example of what not to do! But then, at least they'd put some effort into celebrating for the season. We just have one string of lights wrapped around our lamp post, so I guess I can't cricize too much.

1:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha! That is terrific! And oh so true. I just don't see the beauty in the big inflatable things...although my 5 y/o thinks they are the greatest thing ever!

My husband tries to be Clark W. Griswold every year. He used to outline the entire house...literally. He's cut back some...but is slowly moving on to the lawn ornaments. Ugh!!

9:13 PM  
Blogger Martiel said...

well said. did you see my post on holiday lights, there was a house we saw with everything imaginable set up and broke all of your rules!

5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hahahaha. Good guide to lights!

5:59 PM  

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