January 10, 2013

Christmas Lights: Raising the Bar in 2013

I'm finally going to tear down my meager and pathetic Christmas lights today. Or tomorrow. Or this weekend. Yeah, I'm that neighbor who refuses to abide by the sacred rule that mandates removal of all Christmas lights and decorations some time during the first weekend of each new year. Everyone else on my block has shut down for the season, but my crappy, old school, incandescent, energy inefficient, and unintentionally flickering icicle lights are still glowing. Just like they have every year for the last decade. Although these lights have served me well, I've decided to step up my holiday light game for 2013.

Please read on for more of this exciting story . . .

You see, my side of the block is usually chock full of holiday lights, while the other side is usually very weak and dim. No contest, really, except for the house immediately across the street from me. They have set the neighborhood bar for sure: multicolored icicle lights on the first and second stories; multicolored LED light strings surrounding the garage door; lighted nets on the bushes out front; lighted snowflakes on the second story eaves; and lighted nets (multicolored) on the street-facing roof, which is conveniently angled to allow viewing. To be honest, their light display isn't really all that impressive, but it definitely sticks out as the best one on the block, and it puts my bush league display to shame. I admit it. My kids even tease me about it. "Gee whiz, Dad, why can't we get cool lights like them?" or "Why do we always have the same boring white lights" or "Dad, we have more broken lights than good ones" or "Our lights suck ass!" OK, they don't really say that, but you get the point.

So I hatched a plan to scour the stores for after-Christmas sales, hoping to score some awesome deals on lights and accessories. This of course led to some online research, measuring my landscape and house dimensions, and over-analyzing. One thing led to another, and I convinced myself to acquire some commercial grade LED strings. I looked at a number of online vendors, Home Depot, Ace Hardware, Rite Aid, etc., and finally settled on this place. Although I originally was thinking about some animated lights, color-changing lights, or those cool looking "melting icicle" lights, I ultimately decided on a simple arrangement of green mini LED strings combined with red/white LED icicle strings. It took awhile, but I measured everything out, and ordered a boat load of light strings, a few boxes of clips, a 50 foot extension cord, a 9 foot triple outlet extension cord, a couple of three-outlet adapters, and an outdoor timer. The plan is to replace the old dim white icicle strings with the modern red/white icicle strings, topped with the green mini lights to enhance the overall Christmas color scheme. Moreover, the same arrangement will be used to line my ENTIRE street-side fence, which rises about ten feet above the sidewalk and is about 90 feet in length. I'm hoping that the simplicity of the arrangement will be overshadowed (overlighted?) by the sheer amount of candlepower emitted by all of those little diodes.

But wait, there's more. Due to the low power consumption of LED lights, I'll be able to connect more than a billion of the light strings together. So, Phase Two of the holiday light plan is as follows: (1) additional mini LED strings around the perimeter of the garage door, perhaps red only or red and white; (2) lighted nets for the bushes in front of the house; (3) multicolored mini LED strings wrapped around the trees in the front yard; (4) multicolored LED icicle strings on the backyard play structure, which is visible from the street; and (5) a cheesy inflatable Santa, snowman, or perhaps Spongebob Squarepants standing on the deck of the play structure. I haven't given Phase Two much thought, and I haven't purchased any of the items for Phase Two yet. Luckily, I have an eleven month acquisition period for Phase Two. Time is on my side.

My across-the-street neighbor won't know what hit him when I fire up the lights on December 1, 2013. He set the bar in 2012, and I intend to raise it in 2013.

No comments:

Post a Comment