It’s not only the war on Christmas that starts earlier every year, but the outdoor displays are appearing on front lawns, balconies and public squares in force right now as well. This is a good thing. The days are short and a good looking outdoor holiday collection takes time to plan and assemble and should be enjoyed as long as possible. There is a disturbing tendency to decorate ALL the holidays. A flag on Arbor, the 4th, Memorial or Veterans and a Jack-O-Lantern on Halloween is all you need. Let’s save the lights for the time of the winter solstice. Here are a few simple guidelines to make your festive display stand out:
1. Less is more. An overly cluttered display is like static on the radio. Everything gets lost in the noise. A few simple items will enhance rather than overwhelm.
2. Avoid mass-produced items. Even the most crude, roughly hewn homemade Santa or giant icicle is better than a cheap, laminated cardboard cutout manger-scene. (If you’re not handy with tools, go with a quality, i.e., expensive piece. You can use it for many seasons, and then you can sell it for big bucks on E-Bay after it develops a nice patina.)
3. The giant, inflatable elves and reindeer and Santa on a Harley don’t work. They look cheap, the air blower makes noise and, during the day, the deflated version looks like a puddle of holiday vomit.
4. Animatronic Christmas creatures should be limited to Disney theme parks and train stations. (One of the mechanical elves at Olgivie Transportation Center looks like he is repeatedly sticking a screwdriver in his eye.) Let’s wait till we get the humanoid robots who will put the lights and tree up for us! (Your holiday celebration is illogical, yet I must obey.)
5. Some carefully placed strings of lights (the LED variety are cool and use less power) are easy and look great. Make sure you use individual strings of bulbs and place them carefully by hand to outline and emphasize structures and landscaping. Turn them off during the day and when you’re not at home. Blinking lights should be reserved for the dance floor and emergency vehicles.
6. Make sure you remove your holiday display in a timely fashion. After New Years, we need some drab.


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