Too many Christmas lights?
December 10, 2003 4:43 PM   Subscribe

Is there such a thing as too many Christmas lights? I love seeing lavish displays of lights at Christmas time. Some folks like a few old-fashioned Christmas lights and some like to deck the halls in a blaze of glory (this one boasts 700,000 lights). And how much does it cost to run a fabulous display?
posted by Lynsey (23 comments total)
It's a simple rule of thumb - if you have to add any electrical equipment other than external outlets (i.e., transfer or junction boxes, an additional meter, a generator, etc.) to support your home Christmas light display, you've gone too far.
posted by FormlessOne at 4:52 PM on December 10, 2003


(freaking waste of electricity)
posted by Eekacat at 4:55 PM on December 10, 2003

one word: hampden
. . . live from baltimore, "the greatest city in america."
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 5:10 PM on December 10, 2003

Ask the Osborne family - Jennings and Mitzi and their lovely daughter, Breezy.
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 5:39 PM on December 10, 2003

mbd1mbd1, that site is the gaggingest, even without spoon!
posted by quonsar at 5:59 PM on December 10, 2003

Yep. Complete with family photo albums.

I'm not sure which family is more polarizing in Arkansas - the Osbornes or the Clintons.
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 6:01 PM on December 10, 2003

I'm not sure, but things are definitely looking up. ^_^
posted by Dick Paris at 6:20 PM on December 10, 2003

Thanks sirmissalot, this is truely Baltimore at Christmas time.
posted by stbalbach at 7:02 PM on December 10, 2003

My hometown is known as the "Christmas Capital of Canada." Probably a self-declared title, but the lights are nice. (And since the sun sets around 4:30 PM in December, there's plenty of darkness to enjoy them in...)
posted by Johnny Assay at 8:33 PM on December 10, 2003

I saw a statistic the other day:

70% US households will have Christmas lights on display. Seemed high to me. That's a lot of lights.
posted by tomplus2 at 9:01 PM on December 10, 2003

If you don't cover your house with Christmas lights, then satan has won.
posted by HTuttle at 9:40 PM on December 10, 2003

Just take 'em down by Valentine's day, please.
posted by sageleaf at 4:35 AM on December 11, 2003

Aren't we at war? With countries that produce oil? Aren't these lights burning electricity made possible by oil?

So if you have Christmas lights, you are supporting terrorism.
posted by benjh at 4:55 AM on December 11, 2003

We are at war to get the oil, to supply the electricity, to power the Christmas lights.

We cannot allow our Christmas lighting to be be held hostage by evil muslim turrsts, who want to stamp out Christmas.
This is what our brave soldiers are throwing away laying down their lives for.
I for one, salute their pointless sacrifice.

Iraq Motives v3.04.002 beta
posted by Blue Stone at 5:49 AM on December 11, 2003

Every year, we go through the same tedious and aggravating ritual...

1 - find the box with the lights
2 - untangle the lights
3 - try to figure out which bulb is the one causing half (or all) of the string to not light up
4 - send someone out to the store to get extra bulbs
5 - discover that new bulbs can't make the string work
6 - send someone out to the store to get a new set of lights
7 - lose all holiday spirit

Now, I can't even imagine what these people go through every year. They must be insane.
posted by MsVader at 6:24 AM on December 11, 2003

What boggled my mind was reading through the PlanetChristmas site and noting that some geeks,like this woman, seem to turn their m4d sk1llz to computerizing their displays, resulting in this. She boasts, "We live in Adelaide, South Australia and have been doing a Christmas display for the past two years. Lots of things we have imported from the Christmas Factory in Tennessee. We have also made a lot of wire figurines ourselves this year. This years display is totally run using the computer and DasherCR, the light display is synchronized to music and runs for 24 minutes before restarting."
posted by Lynsey at 9:54 AM on December 11, 2003

I believe in adding a little every year. I've seen some huge displays that looked good, and some that looked tacky, so there's definitely more than quantity involved in whether it works or not. I do wish I felt a little more competant about adding electric outlets to make it easier, but I've never been a big fan of wiring electric outlets. I've also found that I need a taller ladder, because I can't reach much of my house. (At this point I've only been in a house I've owned for 2 christmases, so the extent of my lighting display is basically icicle lights along the front of the house).

And as for when lights can be run, I lean towards between thanksgiving and new years. I won't turn them on after new years, but they lights themselves probably won't come down until I get a day where I won't freeze while taking them down.
posted by piper28 at 12:49 PM on December 11, 2003

Oh, and my wife wants some of those damn deer, which so far I've successfully avoided due to the cost of the things (damn they're expensive).
posted by piper28 at 12:50 PM on December 11, 2003

You should see this one house in my neighborhood. Lights (loads of them) strung in no particular order, lots of little light up Merry Christmas things on the house, plastic lawn decorations on every inch of lawn and ON THE ROOF, and they were still adding more stuff the other day! It makes every other house in the neighborhood look tasteful in comparison.

At least none of the displays in my neighborhood have Christmas songs playing for hours. I would go nuts!

As for me, I am Jewish, so I don't have to worry about putting up lights. : )
posted by SisterHavana at 2:20 PM on December 11, 2003

Seeing all the fantastic lights and decorations really made the magic for me as a kid and now that I'm older, seeing Christmas lights magically makes the kid in me. When it isn't an advert. Dasher software has a customer page with pics and vids, like this snowball fight[mpg] This enthusiast's page covers the control tech and he has some pics and vids of his display. Topgun Santa[mpg] is pretty impressive, too bad he won't get to put up a display this year.
posted by roboto at 4:28 PM on December 11, 2003

I want to be invited to the Osborne's! I want barbeque for Christmas! That was some family webpage!

If you haven't any set up, you can play with this guy's.
posted by roboto at 4:39 PM on December 11, 2003

A little ironic how our electrical company spends a ton of money promoting energy efficiency, only to have it all go up in smoke during Christmas...

(well, actually, we're entirely hydroelectricity in this province, so there's not a whole lot of smoke involved...)
posted by five fresh fish at 9:55 PM on December 11, 2003

It was a pretty big news event in Arkansas (but what isn't, in a state with only 2 million people) when the Osborne's had to move their lights out of state. The street they live on is not very good for handling huge amounts of traffic and it is in the middle of a mostly residential part of Little Rock.

I never saw the lights, but I see the family all the time at Arkansas Razorback football games in Little Rock. They have this huge barbeque at each game and you can get a tray of it for five bucks. When I say a tray, I mean a whole chicken, ribs, sausages, a turkey leg, a bbq sandwich that I can never eat more than half of and some other junk. It's insane. You have to stand in line for like two+ hours to get the food, but I always do, since it is almost all meat and I can take most of it home in a big cooler and eat on it for a week.

I bought a bunch of lights last year and this year I bought more, but as of yet they are not up. And as late as it is, they probably will not be put up. I've been sick so much the last month that I haven't felt like messing with them. I wish I had put them up back in October or something, at least most of them. But I didn't. Oh well. I have outlets all around the house, mostly for this purpose. I need to read up on how people handle their huge displays though, I find that getting everything to outlets and handling extension cords is the biggest problem.
posted by bargle at 12:57 PM on December 12, 2003

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