Is your house on fire, Clark?
No, Aunt Bethany, those are the Christmas lights.
(National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation)

There is so much I love about the holidays. The music, Christmas cards, holiday baking (mostly the eating, not baking), shopping for presents and celebrating with loved ones. I also love looking at beautiful Christmas lights hung with care outside people's homes. I am usually happy with what I see, but sometimes, I see decorated-homes-gone-bad and I shake my head, wondering: "What were they thinking?!"

You know what I'm talking about, don't you? The people who shouldn't have bothered? I mean, I'm sorry - either do it well, or don't do it at all! Because I really don't want to stare at badly hung Christmas lights everyday for an entire month! Looking at decorated-homes-gone-bad is like having to work with someone who enjoys wearing tacky Christmas sweaters, you know?

Let me give you a few examples of decorated-homes-gone-bad:

Totally tacky home: The homes that try a little too hard and go out of their way to make their home look like the HAPPIEST CHRISTMAS HOUSE ON THE BLOCK! You know, the house with three giant inflatable Santas, a giant inflatable snowman, a few penguins, some reindeer on the roof and a billion lights in all the windows, doors and around the garage, as well as lights on all the trees, and candy canes lining up the driveway? Yup... this is the definition of a tacky and over-dressed Christmas house, and if I lived beside a home like this, I would cry tears into my eggnog every night.(Not that I even drink eggnog, I just though it sounded good to say that.)

Mis-matched home: Sigh. This is probably the type of festive home I dislike the most. It's the home that started off with good intentions, but for whatever reason (probably the cold) the person doing the decorating just gave up. I have some advice to offer here: Get your lights up early. That way, you won't freeze and just give up. This is the type of house that had potential but in the end, failed miserably. The house whose lights, hung across the roof, started off white, but then somehow, got mixed up and turned into coloured lights. Going from white to colour on the same row of lights is just totally wrong. Totally. Wrong. Where is the consistency? If you must, do your tree in white lights, and your house in coloured lights. Although, I would much rather see your house in either all white or all colour. Maybe that's just me? But still, mis-matched homes usually don't look good. Even if they're trying to be funny.

I-can-so-tell-you-rushed-this home: This one is pretty bad, too. This is the home whose owners felt bad that it was December 14th and they were the only house on the block with no Christmas lights hung yet. So, what do they do? They rush out to the nearest store, buy whatever lights are still left, and throw them - yes, literally just throw them - over their evergreen tree outside. We're talking. Half the tree does not have any lights on it. Just one side does. Oh, the horror! I have seen this before! It doesn't even make sense, but it has been done. And it's not pretty, let me tell you. I know it is hard getting the lights to go around a tree perfectly. But they have something called Mr. Long Arm to help you with that! It works for us and our ever-growing evergreen tree!

Are-you-pretending-you-don't-see-half-your-lights-are-burned-out home: Okay. I know it is frustrating when you plug in the lights to see if they are all working, only to realize that half of them are burned out. This does not mean your job is done. No. Do not give up! This means you have to start again, okay? Because really? Do you think it is nice to leave only half the lights across your roof, or over your garage, lit up? NO! It is not really okay. It doesn't look good. And I'm sorry if it means you have to go back to the store to buy new lights, but you'll feel so much better once you do. Your house will feel better. And it will make your neighbours happy, too.

I just wish people put a little bit more care into how they decorate their home for the holidays, you know? Remember: class over trash! Am I overly critical? I hope not... I just want things to look good!

For some ideas on how to get it done right, visit her. You know she's got great ideas, even if they might make you cry because you'll never be as good as her. At least, that's how I feel. But still, her ideas are beautiful.

As for my house? I'm happy with what we have going on. We have 3 large columns outside, and they are wrapped in perfectly spaced coloured lights, and acrosss the roof over our front patio, as well. Our big evergreen tree also has coloured lights around it. We used to have white lights, which I actually prefer, but since having children, we thought coloured lights would be more 'festive', and our boys love them! And we have a nice big wreath on our front door. Our Christmas tree can be seen from the front of our house, through our huge living room window, and our tree is decorated in white lights.

So what about you? Are you happy with how your neighbourhood looks around the holidays? Or are there a few decorated-homes-gone-bad near you?

Pictures taken from
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Scattered Mom said...

We've moved so much that we actually have never bothered to buy Christmas lights or lawn ornaments. The wind can get so bad that they would probably end up 1/2 way to Calgary, anyway.

So, ya. My house looks like the Grinch hit it. On the outside, anyway. :)

john cave osborne said...

good stuff. luckily, my neighbors are pretty okay with their lights. but even if they were loaded down w/ an endless array of wacky, tacky stuff, i'd be reasonably okay with it. after all, you can't legislate taste (though it's a damn shame).

but there is one pet peeve i have that stands above all the rest when it comes to Christmas lights. i don't care what gretchen wilson has to say about it. i'll give everyone a week or so, but for cryin' out loud, by jan 10, the lights GOTTA be down!

T Rex Mom said...

Our neighborhood is pretty good. Although, I passed a fully lit home last night and thought it was pretty tacky and a little early for the lights. It's hard for me to put up lights before Thanksgiving.

Neighbor across the street has REALLY bright lights - I hung curtains on our front windows to keep down the flashing as I feel like I'm going to have an epileptic fit from all the blinking.

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

I agree- less is more, simple is elegant! However, I do enjoy LOOKING at all the bad ones. They are so fun!

ModernMom said...

We are spotlights only house! Hubby is a tad accident prone so all lights must be easily installed from the ground! LOL

Mommy Lisa said...

I go tasteful - lights and garland around the front and deck in back, with pretty red 'velvet' bows. An animated moose and a grapevine snowman lit up - and one wreath.

Then we put netted lights on the hedge around the house.

We usually do white, but this year the nets will be blue.

HOWEVER, I secretly want a totally tacky over the top display. My family just won't let me!

Krystyn said...

We do simple lights on our columns and bushes, too. Classy and simple.

What about the house that has blinking lights...just on and off, and they are all sporadic. Drives me crazy.

2 Little Irish Boys said...

Isn't it funny how we change to colored lights once their are children in the house?
I am still hoping mine don't notice that there is such a thing as colored lights!!

anya said...

Ha ha ha! You are so cute! (And I completely agree - especially about the houses with mix matched lights!)
You should dump copies of "her" magazine in the offensive houses' mailboxes.

Pres. Kathy said...

We just moved into our first home over the summer. I cannot wait to start decorating!!!! I am not sure what we are going to do about lights outside. The old owner left their lights on part of the roof. My husband is not the handy type, so I am interested to see what he will decide to do. I have a feeling I will be calling someone to come do the lights. Either way, I just love seeing the houses decorated and listening to Christmas music.

Life with Kaishon said...

I am coming over from the comment you left at Scary Mommy's this morning. What a funny post! I am nervous to see all the funny homes around here this year. It always makes me laugh! : )

Betsy Mae said...

Bert usually hangs the Christmas lights in November before it gets too cold, and he usually opts to do it when I'm not home. Every year Bert and I practicaly need to visit a divorce lawyer over the Christmas lights. I like everything to match, I like every bulb to be WORKING, I don't like flashing lights, I don't like any crazy light up critters...Bert likes the opposite. Last year Bert was up on our roof three times and even then I cringed each time I pulled into the driveway past dusk. I can summarize with one decoration "plastic light up santa" need I say more?????

blueviolet said...

Tasteful and simple is best, I think. Well, for me it is. (but part of it might be laziness)

Shannon @ AnchorMommy said...

Ugh! Tacky Christmas decorations are the WORST! I do not understand why some people correlate the holiday with making their house look like a parade float. It's just bizarre. A couple weeks ago, we went by a house where they were setting up about 20 large lighted figures -- you know, sleighs, and reindeer, and a Santa. And that's certainly not the worst thing I've seen around here...

We like to put white lights just along our roof line and a wreath on the door, because you can see our tree through our living room window. It's strung with white lights too. Some years, we don't get the lights on the house, but that's okay with me, because I think simpler is better. Especially when Christmas is over and the last thing I want to do is spend a bunch of time putting crap away.