Christmas Lights

I searched the archive but didn’t really find anything that answered my question.

I was driving home last night from some almost last minute shopping and was amazed at the number of homes that are decorated with lights this year. I have seen these lights around Christmas time for as long as I can remember but the practice seems to have exploded over the last few years. Has anyone else noticed this. What might be the cause? Has there been a massive increase in the holiday spirit or did Walmart just have a massive promotion on lights?

Also for the non-US dopers; do other nations take place in this illuminating practice?

Oh, seems to be less this year than previous years in my area of the country… where electricity costs a bundle (California)

In England some people do have lights but in general they are much, much, much more sedate than in the US (for example haveing a simply lit Christmas tree in your front garden). That said there does seem to be a worrying trend of people putting up OTT (to most English people anyway) US-style lights and decorations at the front of their houses.

Grit, are you seeing alot of the icicles and other web-style lights (as opposed to strings)? Maybe they are just easier to hang up now. I have noticed a few extra houses in the area lit up this year, and all of them have those kind of lights. Just a WAG.

From what I’ve seen it looks like either keeping up or outdoing the Joneses from last year.

Seeing how the country’s been more mobile,in terms of moving to new locations (take your pick) in the last decade than previously,it takes a few years to be part of the new neighborhood.A kind of snowball effect from previous years.

May also be a hangover effect from last year’s flagsonevery car/window/fire hydrant thing.Maybe last years’ wasn’t as exuberant.

This BTW,an opinion,haven’t seen any factual studies.

I’ve actually noticed a lot fewer houses being well-lit over the past couple of years…perhaps it has to do with the cost of electricity where you are? Besides prices going up, prices are higher here than the state I used to live in(MA), which also had more houses that were excessively lit.

I noticed the icicle light phenomenon booming two years ago. Another big item was the light up reindeer. This year, you gotta give the nod to the inflatable (at least they look inflatable, haven’t been up close to one yet) lawn ornaments, mostly Santas and Frosties.

I have lived in the same house for almost nine years and haven’t really noticed a big difference in the price of electricity this year so I’m not sure if that is the answer.

I haven’t made this a study so I have no concrete evidence (no cites :slight_smile: ), but it seems like the number of houses that are decorated in my area seems to have doubled.

ZIPPERJJ : There do seem to be a great number of the “web” and “icicle” type lights so maybe the reason is that it has just gotten easier.

LURE : In one area this may very well be the case. There is one house about a mile from mine that is decorated for nearly every holiday. It is strange to see all the pastel colored lights and bunny yard ornaments around Easter but the festival of green around St. Patricks day is simply dumbfounding. If I was an accountant for the local power company I would love this household. This particular neighborhood seems to be one of the most decorated.

Perhaps it’s a matter of “keeping up with the Joneses”?

In the summer, it could be a greenest lawn competition, and in the Holiday season, it could be a contest of who can best show off their disposable income by stringing up enough lights to make your house visable from space.

It’s getting bigger and bigger here in Oz. is what my house (and another couple in our street) look like.
Remember, it’s the height of summer here, hence the lack of snowage!

There are more and more competitions each year for suburbs with the ‘best’ lit house (and I will never enter them).

There are more and more specialty shops opening with Christmas lights and blow moulds.

It’s going to be crazy in a few years.

My impression: the homes that have decorated in the past are still doing it, those that have not, still not.

The difference is that the decorators are making an effort to put up more elaborate, brighter displays. The advent of, and near-total conquest by, the hanging-icicle-style light string, plus the sudden popularity of the all-white string, may exaggerate this impression.

In worsening economic times, those whose lot is not worsening too badly like to distinguish themselves from the rabble around them.

It seems to be catching on fast here in the UK; most people still don’t decorate the outside of their houses, but there’s usually an example or two of exterior lights in most streets. Occasionally one will find a suburban road where the residents have ALL made a huge effort and the place becomes something of a local attraction.