Friday, December 01, 2006

Christmas decorations

Christmas glow

I may have been late for Halloween, but I'm never late for Christmas decorations, as they are always put up on Thanksgiving weekend. Adam was a big help in putting up the candy cane arch (reminder to self, never take it apart at the end of the season), and decorating the entire tree. Last night it was in the 60's so I actually got to take my time shooting all the pictures in this set. Usually I'm out there with frozen fingers rushing all the shots. Last year we had this huge 4 ft. snowflake on the side of the garage which died and I never got a picture of it (a major disaster for someone as photography crazy as I am).

So here is my trick to a beautifully lit house when I get home from work. Everything must be on a timer! I once had dreams of having a house with a "Christmas outlet" so that everything plugged into these special outlets will be turned on automatically. I often wonder how folks light those huge colonials with 20 front windows and candles in every one of them. Do they run around every day turning all those candles on? Or do they just leave them on all the time? Or do they have 20 timers in the house? Since I've abandoned the candles in the windows (drove me crazy having all those wires on the kitchen counters ready to zap me at a moment's notice), I've resorted to a few regular timers (4) and carefully placed extension cords. For outside, I have a dusk to 4 hour automatic timer, a cool 6 outlet outdoor power strip and many (5) extension cords (wait I have room for one more!!). I used to hate coming home to a dark house and then turning on the lights. I LOVE driving up to the house all lit up like a present. Especially now, when the tree magically passing through the candy cane arch as I drive up the driveway.
Tree framed by arch View of deck and inside

Another rule I like to follow is that you have to be able see all your outside lights from the inside. Since we live so far off the street, the lights aren't really for other people to enjoy, but for us! This year, we have to run into the living room to see the arch, but I get to walk under it every day. I can't wait to see it in the snow! Oh wait, yes I can. It's much better to have a 66F day in December like today. The only thing that isn't visible is the lighted wreath, but you do get blinded by it every time you come in. This is the first year I got a really decent shot of it.
Lighted wreath

Those 150 lights were originally from our wedding tree seven years ago. Since I apparently have a christmas light obsession (not to mention the lights permanently installed above everyone's beds), it's no surprise that Dova's first word at 11 months was "lights".

So we're off to Disney World next week!! Wish us luck!! (Reminder to self, unplug all these blasted lights while we're away)

2 comments :

Anonymous said...

Wow...very pretty lights....makes me feel more and more as though we are in the Christmas season; even with the 60 degree weather outside!

So many things come to mind while reading your excellent post. First, being a hardware engineer and bit of a geek, I have been into various bits of home control over the past decade. I control a fair bit of lights with X-10 stuff I have collected over the years.

I have an old IBM Home Director which is a stand-along programmable controller that not only issues, but listens for X-10 commands. This allows me to take single X-10 commands and expand them into multiple commands or sequences of commands.

For example, when a car comes up the driveway, it triggers the driveway spot lights which send out an X-10 command...the IBM controller then lights the front stair lights and the living room light...and turns them all off five minutes later. I also set it up to do a random sequence of lights and radio powering when we are on vacation. (gives the house a "lived-in" look)

Check out:
http://www.hopco.com/x10/hd.htm
http://www.smarthome.com/1132u.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X10_(industry_standard)
http://www.x10.com
http://www.homecontrols.com/cgi-bin/main/co_disp/displ/pgrfnbr/12/sesent/00
http://www.x10controller.com/faq.html

(even some sort of speech driven freeware???)


EBay sales of IBM Home Directors are not that expensive either: http://tinyurl.com/yjpcq5

Enough about x-10....!

The other thing this post makes me think about are some of the other beautiful Christmas light displays which are around the area.

I just saw a pretty nice one called Zoo Lights at the Stoneham Zoo: http://tinyurl.com/ybovmv

Two other things come to mind....but the first while very bright and colorful, may not be so exciting for non-Christians...but great lights just the same. (it isn't ALL religious)

The La Salette shrine in Attleboro. Ma....
http://www.lasalette-shrine.org/lasalettechristmas.htm

Then I think there is one in Enfield NH too.....anyways, here is a list of a lot of Christmas lights in all 50 states!

http://www.lightpatch.com/christmaslights/

Oh.....one last thing....I guess there is a big display in Hudson, NH....

http://www.hudsonchristmas.com/

I've never seen that...I'll have to check it out tomorrow night!

Sorry for the marathon comment...

Merry Christmas!

Tom - Daai Tou Laam said...

So much for the electricity savings by switching to compact flourescents. ;)

And DisneyWorld? I guess as my civic duty I'm supposed to recommend a trip instead to the newest Disneyland. :)

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