It is the holiday season, a time for peace on earth and goodwill towards man. Yeah, right, maybe it is on paper but in real life the holiday season means shopping, drinking, and over indulgence, and the place people have become the most over indulgent is the area of holiday decorations.
It used to be so easy. When I was a kid, we decorated our house for the holidays with one string of lights that had bulbs the size of small gerbils. The lights stretched across the front porch and took dad less than a six-pack to install. The entire budget for holiday decorations was used for replacement bulbs.
Fast forward to today when the average home is decorated with enough colored lights, animated characters, inflatable Santas, and flashing displays to turn the typical suburban home into a poor man’s Las Vegas…or a rich man’s Branson. The decorations are nice but the competition is rampant among homeowners who try to outdo each other in the use of holiday voltage.
These displays are ostentatious, gaudy, and cost thousands of dollars. Gaudy and ostentatious do not bother me but the cost is high enough to turn holiday decorating into a rich man’s hobby. What can the average Joe do to compete in this ritual? After watching shows like Design on a Dime, I became obsessed with the idea of developing Christmas decorations that are both eye-catching and affordable. Here are some ideas.
Use Your Recyclables – Fill plastic soda bottles with colored water and hang them from the trees. Construct a Christmas tree in your front yard by stacking empty Budweiser cans. And turn your entire abode into a shiny ornament by stapling empty pie tins and pieces of aluminum foil to the front of your house. If you live in a cul-de-sac, the headlights of oncoming traffic will light the neighborhood in reflective brilliance.
Recycle Your Current Decorations – There is no reason to own decorations that are only usable for one holiday. Take the Jack-O-Lantern for example. These pumpkins are only seen during Halloween but there’s no reason you can’t extend their usefulness by gluing some cotton on the jaw and plopping a red hat on top. Presto, you’ve got a Santa-O-Lantern. I put skeletons in my yard for Halloween but then I use bathrobes and Burger King crowns to turn them into the three magi for Christmas. And
Borrow Stuff – Everybody knows somebody who has a lot of decorations. These people also buy a lot of decorations every year, so if you ask to borrow a string of lights or two, they will gladly give them to you. A string of lights here and an animated Santa there, and presto, you’ve got a festive front yard. Plus, after a couple of years, the people you borrowed the stuff from will forget all about it and will probably let you borrow even more. This method works best if you move a lot.