Deck the Halls with a Tasteful Light Display

By: Toni Cunningham | December 4, 2013
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There is no middle ground when it comes to Christmas lights. Displays are either tasteful or tacky, subdued or extreme. Have you ever seen a house with blue icicle lights and exclaimed, “This looks great!”? I didn’t think so.

Clearly people don’t buy into the concept of less is more, because holiday light displays have become somewhat of a competition, not to mention an eyesore. Let’s see who in the neighborhood can get their turkey decorations down and string those red and green lights up first! Heaven forbid you still have a cornucopia on your front porch twelve hours after Thanksgiving has ended. Better yet, I hope you acquired those twinkling lights by trampling fellow shoppers at your local hardware store on Black Friday!

Here’s a question for you: when it comes to holiday light displays, are you a Griswold or a Grinch? Personally, I fall in the middle of that spectrum. Who doesn’t love holiday lights? They’re festive and jolly. However, if your house can be seen from outer space, your light display coincides with a Skrillex song and/or your electrical bill rivals that of a physician’s salary, you might be taking things a tad too far.

Like many aspects of life, there is a classy way to adorn the exterior of your house for the holidays, and there’s a tasteless way to do so. Those of you with iridescent tinsel wrapped around your porch columns, I’m looking at you. While yes, these are decorations, not lights, they fall into the same category, and they’re garish so just don’t.

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When it comes to decorating with lights, give me a few candelabras for the windows, throw some pretty lights in the front bushes, and maybe adorn the perimeter of the garage with a string of bulbs. If you feel so inclined, change the porch light bulbs to green and red ones while you’re at it so Santa can find his way. But let the fuss stop there. If you find yourself standing on your front lawn asking, “Is this too much?” the answer is yes. Heed the words of the legendary Coco Chanel and stop, look in the mirror, er… I mean at your house, and remove one item (or more, if necessary).

The bottom line is, make your Christmas light display something you and your neighbors will appreciate, not something you need sunglasses and earplugs to behold.

Once your light display is set, spruce up those babies with additional décor like a holiday wreath, red bows, garland (of the green variety, and keep it minimal), and poinsettias. Perhaps steer clear of those lit up reindeer or any inflatable items. You know exactly what I’m talking about.

After you’ve decked out your own yard, hop in the car and check out extreme light displays elsewhere. By taking in these elaborate exhibits away from home, you save yourself a sky-high bill, and you won’t be labeled “that family” of the neighborhood.

The Wayne County Lightfest is held in Hines Park through the end of the month, and you can drive through the display as many times as your heart desires until Tuesday, December 31 (note, it’s closed on Christmas day).

Wild Lights will be held at the Detroit Zoo, 8450 W. 10 Mile Rd., Royal Oak, through the beginning of January. During this time, over a million twinkling lights will illuminate a half-mile trail of trees and buildings. Tickets cost $8 at the gate and $10 in advance, and admission allows you to take part in holiday entertainment and activities. Grab the family and enjoy storytelling, a Lego holiday train display, photos with Santa and more!

The Big, Bright Light Show takes place in Downtown Rochester, where the area’s buildings are covered in LED lights. You’ll want to take a look at the link provided, because practically every square inch of building is decked out in colorful lights.

Livonia Lights, located at 34836 Bridge St., Livonia, is a residential home that has been recognized by several media outlets in recent years. Perhaps because the show includes 50,000 plus lights, synchronized music, and new this year, Dudley the “talking dog.” You won’t believe it until you see it.

Now remember, everything is good in moderation. That includes holiday lights. Happy holidays, and happy decorating!