Note: This post was automatically generated from John’s weekly newsletter, The Daly Grind. If you encounter broken links or images, you can go here to read from the original newsletter: Read More
Christmas may not be my favorite holiday (I’m one of those weird Halloween types), but it’s of course an important day for my faith, and I enjoy celebrating the season… including writing our annual Christmas letter, wrapping gifts, exchanging presents, and otherwise spending quality time with my family. One thing I don’t like about it, however, is decorating.
“Don’t like” is probably an understatement. Dragging out tubs from a cluttered storage-room in the basement is a huge pain in the butt. So is carrying them upstairs, setting up the tree, hanging garland and ornaments, and my least favorite of all… hanging lights on the outside of the house (usually in cold weather).
I’m sort of the reverse of Clark Griswold in this respect. I’d rather not set up anything outside (a modest Christmas tree in the living room to put gifts under is plenty for me). But my family (well, my wife) always insists we gotta dazzle up the front-porch area. And to be fair, it’s not like she’s asking a whole lot from me… Well, not in concept anyway. Electrically, we’re just looking at 30 feet of icicle lights along the eave of the roof, a couple lines of lights spiraling two pillars, some of those net-style lights draped over four hedges, and two four-foot-tall Christmas trees that already have lights on them.
Yet, the process never goes smoothly… and I mean never. With just one outlet out front, getting everything plugged in correctly, with the cords out of the way of delivery-drivers and guests, is a real challenge. We have pictures we’ve taken in years-past of where various plugs meet various extension cords (the systemic flow of which eventually ends up at the outlet). This, in theory, is supposed to make the process fairly smooth. But every year, for a reason I don’t understand, at least one thing comes out of a tub no longer working. It’s always a vital component to the entire setup, and the problem is often not discovered until everything is already mounted in its proper place. This reliably prompts some swearing and a trip to the store (or multiple stores) for a replacement… which almost always results in the purchase of an item that’s just different enough in design from its older counterpart that it requires some kind of adapter… which leads to additional swearing and another trip to the store.
I know my story isn’t all that unique (this historic struggle has been lampooned in some of the greatest Christmas movies ever made), but it does leave me with great admiration for those who happily and pridefully invest a ton of time in their own Christmas-lights game. That’s because, while I hate putting up Christmas lights myself, I love looking at them.
A family who used to live just a few blocks from us were appropriately known as “The Greeley Griswolds” for how overboard they went every year with their Christmas lights. That’s a picture of their house at the top of this newsletter.
Here are a couple more shots from different angles:
It was a truly exceptional display, with the lights synchronized with powerful Christmas music that blasted through a radio channel for spectators near and far to enjoy. The pictures really don’t do the spectacle justice, but this might:
The family’s annual efforts turned them into celebrities… not just locally but nationally. Driving or walking past their home was a Christmas tradition for my family (and countless other families), and I can’t imagine there wasn’t a single visitor — especially those like me who can’t set up just a few lights at their own house without getting frustrated — who didn’t marvel at the amount of time and effort that went into it.
The family moved a couple years ago, but others here in Greeley have tried to fill the void, including using the Griswold brand. This display (which grows every year) sits in front of a local business just down the street from us:
Pretty cool, huh? And as I look at the pictures again right now, the display is probably easier to set up — at least from a lighting perspective — than our front porch… which makes me think it’s time for a conversation with my wife about next year.
In the meantime, I offer my sincere respect to Christmas-light arrangers everywhere.
I’m not sure if a newsletter will go out next Monday, being that it’s Christmas Day. But in case it doesn’t, I’ll take the opportunity now to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Peace.
Obligatory Dog Shot
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