The topic for the December 5th installment of the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories hosted by Thomas MacEntee is: "Outdoor Decorations. Did people in your neighborhood decorate with lights? Did some people really go “all out” when decorating?"
Growing up in the 1950s and 60s we lived out in the country, moving to a rural subdivision in 1960. There really weren't many outdoor decorations at that time. It was the time before the era of great consumerism emerged, when Christmas sales didn't start in August, and stores didn't put up Christmas decorations until Thanksgiving. We always put up our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving, added a few other indoor decorations, perhaps a few lights around the big picture window in the living room, and that was it. No outdoor lights or decorations.
In 1987, Mom and I bought an old farm house in rural Noble County, Indiana. Our nearest neighbors were a mile away in every direction. There we put up a large tree in the living room that could be seen by the passing cars. It was a two-story house so the eaves were way too high for putting lights up, but if we'd been able to do so, Mom would have been all for it. We did string lights and garland around the deck railing and the back porch and around all of the windows, upstairs and down. None of our neighbors put up outside lights. I'm not sure why we bothered since very few people saw them, but they seemed to make my Mom happy. I'll admit, I enjoyed them too ;-) except for the fact that I was the one that had to put them up and take them down, usually on the coldest and windiest day of the year!
Ten years later we moved to a subdivision north of Columbia City. There were a few neighbors who went a little overboard but for the most part the decorations were a bit sedate. With a one-story house, the lights went up on the eaves shortly after Thanksgiving, sometimes before, if the weather was nice. But they weren't turned on until the day after Thanksgiving. These were the blinking kind, that could be set to change in a continuous pattern. We also had some small trees and shrubs around the house and those were covered in non-blinking multi-colored lights.
We still drive around the countryside to see the decorations that others put up. Some are definitely extravagant, to the extreme. There is a subdivision in Columbia City that we love to drive through. I think they have a competition to see who can display the most lights. They come up with some imaginative displays. Some pretty, some just plain gaudy. Either way, I sure wouldn't want to have to pay their electric bills! But it is fun to see what they come up with each year. I don't particularly like the big "blow-up" Santa and Snowman figures and Snowglobes that seem to be all the rage now. It is amusing though to see them deflated, lying flat on the ground.
No, this isn't my house from a Christmas Past. It's from the 2006 collection at Ugly Christmas Lights
And then, for some more fun, there are the people Showing Off at Planet Christmas!