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Sunday, 19 December 2010


For sometime my family have referred to excessive private Christmas light displays as Griswoldry, after the Griswolds Christmas Vacation movie. In the UK it's hard to put up an exterior Christmas display on most houses as there are no provisions made for external electric hookups, so anyone who does has gone to a lot of trouble, but in the US most houses come with external sockets purely for Xmas lights.

Here's our house, with 400 white LED lights, in four sets of 100 dangling icicles. That may sounds like a lot but actually it's  restained, as you might expect from an Englishman surrounded by American excesses. The lights are plugged into two exterior sockets, 2 sets coming from right to left across the garage, 2 sets from left to right across the porch, with a switch in the garage controlling everything. We switch them on from dark until bedtime. There are more plug points, and given a few hours up a long ladder it would be easy to add more lights across the upper eaves, as some of our neighbors have. For our first year in the house this, plus a tree inside (now installed, 6-7ft with 400 colored lights), is enough.

The Ghost of Christmas Present, relaxing in a way only he seems to understand.

These houses are all within walking distance of ours. So far so good. Lights on the eaves, an occasional tree or bush in the front garden light with a string or net of LED lights. Maybe a wreath, star or other display in a window or on the front wall of the house. Next time we will move onto some more... exuberant... offerings. 


  1. Like most, I probably have mixed feelings about the Griswoldry. (good word, btw.) It's enjoyable in the sense that it's fun to gawk at, but it is the most subtly adorned of houses that say to me both "we are enjoying the season" and "you want to be here."

    There has never been a decorating enthusiast living here, but finally--a few years ago when she was in H.S.--Becca strung some white lights along the porch. Before, I guess I just had a wreath, but since she broke that new ground, I've tried to embellish the porch with lights each year, and I like the tree to show through the front window.

  2. The neighbor across the street from me has more lights than they've ever had before. He also got a system where it plays music and the different series of lights flash to the music. Fortunately he is being polite and keeping the sound down and turning them off early. I just have 2 trees out front that I lit up. My house is too old to have the special outside outlets so I have to drop an extension cord from the attic window. It's on a timer though so I don't have to worry about turning them on and off, and they are on for me when I get home from work, which is cheering.