(This post was originally written in December 2011. It has been up[dated for the 2012 season)
“Yes, you are crazy”. The words out of Lara, our German Exchange Student, after the third day of putting up Christmas Lights! We laugh about it and realize… we really are a little crazy with our decorations! But it’s been a 20-year tradition!
It started with several strands of lights back in Nebraska. When we moved to Arizona, we realized we could do a lot more in warmer weather and no snow! Every year, we added more and more and more lights! At our last home, it turned into a competition with our good friends, the Lenz’s. They’d put up more lights, so we’d put up more lights. Then when we moved to our current home in 2003, they said our little “light contest” wasn’t going to be fair because our house was bigger now. So, they said we would only win if we lit up the highest peak of the roof….about 45 feet high! For a couple of years, we didn’t know how to get up there. We were too cheap to rent a cherry picker. But a few years ago, I decided I had to win! Yes, I’m crazy!
So here’s a picture from a couple years ago while I rode up and down along the house for a couple days putting brown-painted hooks into the house.
Then we had to figure out how to get the icicle lights up without renting a cherry picker every year! Well, in comes the paint extender… with a barbeque fork taped on the end! Mystery solved! Oh wait… the paint extender won’t reach that high so… Terry stands on the tallest extension ladder we have and reaches all the way up! The biggest hassle is that he has to move the ladder about 5 feet every time he puts lights on a hook. He’s mastered this technique… and it’s pretty comical to watch!
Next step… attaching multi-colored lights to the house. Once again, the extension ladder and moving it around the house every 4 feet or so. By the time we’re done with the icicles one day and the house lights another day, Terry’s feet are pretty sore from standing on ladder rungs!
We also wrap lights on every bush and tree in the front yard. There are 2-to-6 sets of 100-150 light strands per tree or bush, depending on their size. And I’m very picky about not having the same colors next to each other! I know… I’m crazy!
And lastly, we put up what we call “The Big Guns”… all the yard figures! We have the yard separated into 3 areas: the Manger Scene on the far west side under the Pine Trees, Santa’s Workshop in the west section of the yard from the middle sidewalk, and The North Pole on the East Side.
The Manger Scene side consists of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus, the Three Wise Men, a star shining down on them, an Angel (in 2012 another Angel was added) and some Floating Stars. Lara called the Wise Men the “Wise Guys”. The name has stuck ever since.
The west side, Santa’s Workshop, is where we have Santa in a Train, a Dancing Bear that moves back and forth on blocks that say NOEL, a Rocking Horse that actually rocks, some presents and a Gingerbread House. (New in 2012: we moved the 12-foot inflatable Santa to this side)
On the East side, The North Pole, is where we had a 12-foot inflatable Santa (In 2012, we added a 12-foot inflatable Snowman). There’s also the Snowmen Family with winter trees, a family of geese going into a “pond”, and a Penguin Family! A few years back, someone actually stole our Penguin Family and we decided it needed to be replaced! I found them on eBay. The guy wanted double what I paid. I won! (In 2012, we added an Igloo with a Penguin that pops up and down). Yep…always something new…and yes… I’m crazy!
And then there’s the main walkway to the house with the huge Candy Cane Arch and Nutcrackers! This is our favorite part of the decorations! The Candy Cane Arch was falling apart from being stored in the Phoenix heat so last year we took it completely apart, painted it and reconnected all the lights. I had it sitting in my living room for weeks, using little plastic “zip ties” to hold the lights in place. My fingertips were raw when I was done! Lara insists we put mistletoe on the arch. We haven’t done that before but think we should in honor of Lara!
The Nutcrackers have their own story too! When the penguins were stolen from the yard, so was a Nutcracker. We even had him tied to a large rod in the ground! The other Nutcracker was certainly lonely so we moved him to a spot against the house. After all, having one Nutcracker to guard the “entry” just didn’t look right. We couldn’t find another one to match for a couple years. Then, last year, when during an inspection walk-thru of a home our good friend’s, the Subia’s were buying, we saw the same Nutcracker in the Seller’s garage! We called the lady that night, told her the story of the stolen decorations and asked her if she would consider selling it. Her answer was, “I don’t have a box to move it when we go to Texas so I will sell it to you!” You would think I had won the lottery I was so excited! So now the two Nutcrackers sit in front of the walkway again, guarding the “entry”!
Lara’s excitement on the light project was awesome! She helped all three days that we worked on it from morning till night. She got frustrated with putting the yard decorations together but didn’t give up! In fact, Brittany, Lara and I were outside working on lights for 3 days straight! And then for the next few days, we were touching things up!
And I guess our hard work paid off! We entered a light contest at a local TV station and won! The Grand Prize was 4 tickets to see the Broadway Musical “White Christmas”, t-shirts from the show and $250!!! Seriously… there are homes better than ours but if you don’t enter to win… you don’t win! I always play to win! And Yes… more proof that I’m just a little crazy!!!
P.S. Since so many people ask where I store all of this stuff… I am very organized in how it’s packed. Each set of lights is put in a plastic bag with a label showing where it goes. Then they are divided into containers labeled “East side”, “West side”, “Pine Tree Side”. We have one container just for extension cords and timers… and it’s full! We have a couple containers for yard decorations that don’t have their own box. And since we closed in our garage a few years ago to make an Office/Game Room… it’s all in a shed in the backyard. Surprisingly enough… it only takes up about 1/3 of the shed! You know what that means??? Yes… I have room for more lights!!!!!!
MORE PICTURES BELOW!