Outdoor Decorations – Dad Hated Christmas Lights

accm_badgeComing home one school day in November, I walked right past my house not recognizing it.

Mum had hung our wreath with the pinecones and the big red bow on the door like she always did, but Dad put some of his woodwork in the yard, in the living room window and on the roof.

Centered in the yard was a three-foot tall Mickey Mouse, dressed in Santa’s red suit, holding an ornament that was as large as he was. 

From inside the house, at the living room window, six of Santa’s reindeer were laughing as they watched Mickey in the yard, but it was the action of the roof that grabbed all the attention. 

Three characters were spotlighted; two were elves.  The first little fellow had that determined look on his face, deeply concentrating on what he needed to do – his tongue sticking out of his mouth, as he readied a sledgehammer over his shoulder like a baseball bat poised to give it everything he had. 

His co-worker unfortunately, looked more worried – he was the lucky Joe who got to hold the spike for Hefty to swing at!

But the seriousness of these two little men was upstaged by the much taller chap standing, clearly embarrassed, between them.  It was Santa Claus who had a look of total disbelief and shock.  Around his middle, were the remnants of a dislodged chimney; at his feet were three loose bricks and a full pack of toys!

At dinner, my siblings and I spoke how great the house looked from the street; no one else on the block had decorations like these!  But Mum was disappointed, she wanted Christmas lights – she wanted colour.

“But, everybody has Christmas lights,” Dad pouted.  We giggled quietly because we knew who would win this one.

The next day coming home from school, Dad was on a ladder, hanging the last set of lights from the eavestroughs.  He had already trimmed lights around the kitchen and living room window frames, as well as the front door frame.  The thick green cord held large glass-bulb lights (about the size of a grown man’s thumb).  The lights were strung out in alternating colours — red, blue, orange, green and yellow.

We watched from outside the fence, as Dad came down and went to plug everything in.  First, there was a flicker and then the house was aglow in the bright and vibrant colours.  I was happily taking in all this festive show, when my younger sister Sweetie piped up, pointing up at the roof near the downspout.

“Uh, oh, Dahh-dee, that one has no colour!”

Poor Dad, he would need to go to the department store – an hour’s drive … one way – just to get a replacement bulb.

He looked at his watch.  Dinner was in 20minutes.  “It can wait ‘til the next time we go shopping,” he said, “Let’s wash up and see if Mum needs help making dinner!”

I remember helping taking down those same lights during Spring break, and putting them back up again the following Christmas – and that silly bulb was still burnt out, both times!

Now, as I have inherited hanging up our outdoor lights, we use metal cup hooks to hold the wiring — it is so much easier to put up and take down the cords now.

Unfortunately, I did not inherit my Dad’s talent for woodwork, so our yard characters are not as unique – they’re just whatever we can find at the big blue box super stores.



  1. My dad also hated hanging the Christmas lights on the house. He was secretly very happy when we had an energy ‘crisis’ (don’t know if it was just So Calif. or nation wide as I really didn’t pay attention). It was requested that people didn’t hang lots of lights on their homes. He happily complied and never returned to full lighting. Now, he just put little lights on the bush next to the front door. It is known as the ‘burning bush’ of Christmas.
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)


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