One of our favorite things to do this time of year is drive around looking at Christmas lights. It's always so awesome to see how creative some people can be. Or how garish they can be. Whatever. It's fun to look anyway.
There's a subdivision that I like driving through on the way to church. Some people go all out in decorating. One house has a lighted pig with a Santa hat on. I don't get it, but the kids always look for the "pig house". One house always strings lights across the entire surface of their roof. They also have tons of lighted figures and even a small ferris wheel in their yard. An animated, lit train circles just inside their fence. But they don't have everything up yet. I keep wondering what they're waiting for. In another ten days it will be Christmas, and then what's the point?
Another great thing about lights is the "Jones effect". Someone gets a lot of lights in their yard and their neighbor has to keep up so they put a lot up too. There's a stretch of three houses in this subdivision that seemed determined to out-do each other. The display is fantastic! We have a Jones Effect in our subdivision, too. At the far back of the subdivison is a cul-de-sac with three houses competing for biggest light bill. It's a pretty cool sight as well.
One of the best displays I ever remember was in Alabama at the Mill Creek Crossing subdivision. There a house had the legs and feet of Santa sticking out from their chimney. Giant Christmas presents were staggered across the roof and into the yard as if Santa dropped them. My kids always loved to see the Santa house.
Across the street from us, the people have hung giant Christmas balls in their magnolia tree in the front yard. At the base of the tree are three outlines of electric presents in blue, green and red. One thing I've had to get used to here is Christmas lights on a palm trees. It seemed weird last year, but I think the idea is growing on me.
For a couple of years now I've hung icicle lights on the outside of our house. This year I also decided to put some colored lights in our bushes. Side note here: our bushes are scruffy and overgrown at the same time because I don't know anything about pruning or taking care of them. But in the meantime, we had two sets of blinking lights that had 16 different variations. The lights were blue, green, and red. After I strung them through the bushes, only the blue lights worked on the bushes and only the green and red ones worked in the tall bush/small tree at the side of the bushes. So yesterday I got out there and strung some more colored lights so we wouldn't look so pathetic. Our home is not one of the showpieces when it comes to looking at Christmas displays, but it is fun and it is ours.
Sometimes I think this outside decorating can go too far. I once knew a family that did such a huge display, they were featured in the paper every year. But the display (including music) sucked so much electricity that they had to get up and do their laundry at 5:00 AM in order to conserve electricity for that evening display. I don't love Christmas lights that much!
So what kind of displays do you usually see? Or what displays do you remember as standing out in your mind from sometime in the past?
As a postscript, I'll say that I hate those big blow up things that people put in their yards. At night it looks cool, but all during the day you have to put up with what looks like a giant deflated balloon on the grass. I'd rather have something that looks good twenty-four hours a day!