It's fun wandering around the neighborhood seeing all the holiday lights. There's the anal neighbor up the street who probably uses a computer program to make the swags dip in matching arcs along his rooftop and twist around his railings in perfectly matched rows. There's the family who has every inflatable Christmas decoration ever made propped on their lawn. (And I mean EVERY one. Santa and the reindeers. Snap Krackle and Pop in Christmas hats. Scooby in a red scarf. Christmas Spongebob. And, in the center of it all, the Creche, looked adoringly upon by all three wise men, their camels and various assorted farm animals.) And I love how families who celebrate other holidays at this time of year are getting in on the fun. Blue lights, for instance, are a nice addition to all the red and green, I think.

Our house has lights up. They are not, um, perfect. They loop over the railing in arcs of various lengths, reflecting the amount of lights someone felt like swinging over that particular portion. They end a little short of the end of the railing. There's a bright gob, like a faux north star, in the middle of a small potted palm because that's where that hopelessly tangled strand got dumped this year. And I love it that way. It's fun and er, whimsical.
I suppose a psychologist would have a field day making spot analyses of people's personalities. I figure I'm as qualified as anyone to make specious judgments about people. I wonder if you can link writing style to Christmas light display. I mean, if you're a spontaneous writer, does that mean you're more likely to be a spontaneous decoration putter-upper? Does it mean you make drop cookies instead of the rolled, cookie-cuttered and frosted kind? Do you ignore what's on people's lists and get them what appeals to you as you go shopping? Do romance novelists have fancier displays than non-fiction writers?

Well, based on how I fit into the above examples, probably not. I'm more of a planner, writing-wise, but I like unplanned decorations, I can't make a rolled cookie to save my life and I follow people's lists. The most no-nonsense person in our house is also the most whimsical when it comes to decorations. Even so, it's fun to walk by the other houses and speculate, isn't it?

Liz Jasper is the award-winning author of cozy vampire mysteries Underdead and Underdead In Denial. You can read excerpt at her website


  1. Arkansas Cyndi // December 11, 2008 at 4:40 PM  

    Liz - I stopped putting up lights a few years ago. We lived SO FAR off the road that no one could see them! But the hubs was very deliberate about light placement. I'm more "whatever" when doing lights!

    There is a guy in Little Rock who used to have such a HUGE display that his workers started putting all the light up IN OCTOBER! Millions of lights. The traffic jams were awful. To make it worse, his three decorated houses were on a main thoroughfare, so the traffic jam was a nightmare. His neighbors sued. It went to the AR Supreme Court but I'm not sure how much further it went in the legal system. He ended up donating PART of his display to Disney MGM in Orlando. If you ever go to Disney at Christmas, the backlot of MGM is done up in lights. All of them his. By accident, a Halloween cat in lights go into his Christmas lights and every year, MGM puts the cat out in the display. You must "find it"! LOL The year I was there, MGM had also used his Arkansas Razorback lights!

    I do LOVE Christmas lights though.

    Great Blog!

  2. Mary Ricksen // December 11, 2008 at 5:33 PM  

    Okay this year as for the last few years, I have not put up lights like Cyndi.
    I had to do it myself with no help, my husband has no spirit. And it's a lot of work. So, I go look at other peoples displays. It's still fun and much easier on me.
    Does anyone else have to have a real tree or nothing like me?
    I wonder how many people are cutting back and not doing any decorating?

  3. Scarlet Pumpernickel // December 11, 2008 at 5:54 PM  

    I love Christmas lights! Fantasy in Lights at Callaway Gardens is spectacular every year and I can't wait to go. It really kicks off the season. My style of lights? Whatever I can coerce the DH and son into. I guess it might be early chaos!


  4. Mary Marvella // December 11, 2008 at 6:03 PM  

    Loved it, Liz! I love lights, too, but most of mine go on the tree I never put away. Seriously, I push my tree into a corner around Easter. HMmm, I need to put the lights on my porch,since I had some work done it!
    I need a man to do that crap and look good while he's doing it.

  5. Scarlet Pumpernickel // December 11, 2008 at 6:17 PM  

    My DH only looks mad when putting up lights! Drag out that Tree and plug 'er in! It's almost Christmas!


  6. LORETTA CANTON // December 11, 2008 at 7:59 PM  

    I love all the decorations but I don't decorate myself anymore.


  7. Edie // December 11, 2008 at 8:29 PM  

    My husband does the outside decorating. We have a lit up snowman on our front porch and a it Santa face in our garage window. That's it.

    Inside, though, it's all decorated. Like my books, it's not plotted, er, planned. If we fall in love with something, we buy it. After it goes on sale. I have an angel on my desk, facing me. She's holding a book and I swear she's sending me good writing vibes. :)

  8. Beth Trissel // December 11, 2008 at 8:54 PM  

    I love your post and your sense of humor as always, Liz. I had this long lovely comment that Blogger ate unless it reappears. :(

  9. Liz Jasper // December 12, 2008 at 1:31 AM  

    Hi all,
    I hope I'm forgiven for not responding until now when you hear where I was--at the Nutcracker at the SF Opera House. It was amazing--the production has officially replaced the NY ballet production broadcast on PBS each year.

    Their lights are perfect, BTW. (yeah, THAT was a necessary statement. *g*)

    Cyndi, I had no idea, though am both amazed and horrified at how many lights that man must have had. The cat is v. cool.

    Mary, I hear ya. I haven't put up lights for years, which is probably why I'm about 11 years old inside as I do it this year.

    Scarlet, "early chaos". Love that.

    Mary, say it with me, you need a house boy. (Like a pool boy but better 'cuz he washes floors and puts dishes away.)

    Loretta, that's okay, that's what the neighbor's lights are for. : )

    Edie, I hope you have no restraint whatsoever as you buy more stuff.

    Beth, for Christmas I hope Santa brings you a non-message-eating blogger.

    Cheers everyone. This was so fun to come back to.

  10. Joanne // December 12, 2008 at 9:24 AM  

    My dh decorate the outside of our home with lights, and I decorate the inside. We used white lights for years, but recently returned to the small colored lights. In my area, the Carolinas, the McAdenville Christmas lights is an entire village all decorated. They draw crowds of cars every night until Christmas and beyond.

  11. Mona Risk // December 12, 2008 at 9:58 AM  

    In my apartment space is at a premium. My Christmas tree is 2 ft high set on a table, shining with multicolored lights and surrounded with a multitude of gift boxes for four little ones who know Santa comes at Nonna as early as the afternoon of Dec 24. I removed my nicknacks and replaced them with Santas, candles, reeds. Of course I miss the huge Christmas tree we use to put in the big house, but the Christmas spirit is here.

  12. Mary Marvella // December 12, 2008 at 3:53 PM  

    Liz, you are bad!

    Mona, I'd like to be a little kid at your house.

  13. Liz Jasper // December 12, 2008 at 5:27 PM  

    Joanne, I want to come to your neighborhood. I admit I have a bit of a hankering for those fat colored lights everyone used to have.

    Mona, I understand the space premium thing. We haven't gotten our tree yet so I was reduced to smelling wreaths at Costco. Hold on. Did I write that out loud?

    Mary, I know. I expect a lump of coal in my stocking this year. Again.