We’ve noticed a trend in outdoor Christmas decorations. It’s a common one called bigger is better. Of course, this is not always the case.
Granted, there are some things that are better when bigger. Things that come to mind are your heart, that is, how much love you show to your family, friends, neighbors, and yes, even strangers. Bigger smiles count for a lot as do bigger hugs.
On the other hand, bigger cities, schools, houses, vehicles, and appetites in general, while offering advantages, also bring a bigger set of problems.
The bigger is better outdoor Christmas decorations trend is epitomized by the reality TV show, The Great Christmas Light Fight, now in its fifth season. You know something is amiss when something like decorating your house for Christmas is turned into a “fight.”
Don’t get us wrong. we love festively lit homes, streets and communities. It’s a fun tradition to pile the family in the car with hot chocolate and cookies to see Christmas light displays in the area. After all, Christmas lights are one of the oldest symbols for the original reason for the season. And yet, it is so easy to get carried away by the Christmas spirit when decorating with lights and, in some cases, music.
Our featured photo is an example of this. The home is an estate on a dead-end two-lane road in a small town. The lights and big NOEL sign are one thing, but on weekends the display features an alternating light show synchronized to high energy Christmas music. It is considered one of the “must see” homes in the region so it’s very popular and rightly so. Further, visitors can drop donate canned goods for the local food bank in large containers set out front. Of course, you wouldn’t know this unless you’ve seen the display once before and happened to notice the donation containers for the next time.
We talked to one neighbor who doesn’t seem to mind the six-week long nighttime traffic jams on the street. We suspect that not all neighbors are as pleased. Of course, if the street emptied into an arterial street or ended at a cul-de-sac the traffic jams would be less obtrusive.
Contrast this with a street in a mid-size town that is renamed “Candy Cane Lane” annually. It ends in a cul-de-sac and almost every neighbor on the street decorates their home. Note the sign in the accompanying picture which announces the times during which visitors are welcome. (5:30 – 10 pm) Obviously all the neighbors are expecting their street to be a “must see” and will see a lot of traffic during those hours.
We have compiled some neighborly tips for decorating your home with an eye toward being a good neighbor. We encourage you to keep them in mind if you are inclined to take your light display to the next level or more.
- If you don’t live on a street that ends at a cul-de-sac or ideally empties into an arterial street then reconsider becoming a “must see” home.
- If you don’t live on such a traffic friendly street as mentioned in #1 above, consider helping a local business, school, church, or organization expand their light display.
- If you have to accept donations or sell goods to cover all or a portion of the cost of your light bill and supplies, perhaps you should reconsider the degree to which you celebrate the season in lights.
- If you are playing music outdoors then be sure that the volume and times meet all applicable local ordinances.
- If your neighbor’s property is being damaged by the foot or vehicle traffic, offer to put up traffic cones to help prevent it.
If we missed any suggestions, please pass them along here.
Lastly, for a light-hearted and playful approach to the topic at hand, (Yes, Virginia, there really are two puns in that sentence.), take a few minutes to enjoy the seasonal video below courtesy of the Piano Guys.