As a kid, my family competitively displayed Christmas lights (that’s probably what sparked my love of all things Christmas!), so yard decorating is my absolute jam! Before I begin, be aware that if you’re planning to compete, it can be difficult. From the cost, to neighbourhood issues, to security, there is a lot to consider before you commit to it. I do personally believe that doing lights was the absolute best experience ever, and I would do it again in a heartbeat if I could! But there are a tonne of things to take into account when planning/pulling off your house decorations so let’s get stuck into it!
You don’t have to do a very big display to be visited by light-hunters coming up to the big day. If you’re truly decorating your house and live somewhere with high traffic, you should consider your neighbours and the impact it will have on their lives. I would suggest either having a chat to your neighbours or letterbox dropping, depending on your relationship with them. They may have some questions regarding sound, lighting and viewing times, you should be prepared with answers before approaching them.
One of the biggest things I cannot stress enough, is that your display needs to be absolutely safe, especially with children around. Something important to take into account is the weather in your area and how your electrical needs will be met while being safe around power points getting wet etc. Any steps or bumpy areas should be highlighted and I would encourage you to put up signs when practical. A great fool-proof cover for yourself would be public liability insurance or something similar. You should consult a professional on your options regarding insurance, just in case something happens – it could cover you and help you relax during the already stressful time. You should also look into any permits required for your area, some governments have restrictions on lights during the silly season so make sure you do some research.
Another safety/neighbourhood issue you can run into is the traffic brought into your street! Light-hunters will want to slow down, if not stop to look at your display and you need to plan accordingly. Some homes will have cones laid out for cars to park on their yard, or for tour busses (yes, that is a thing, and yes, it happens every year!). If it’s appropriate, signage may help with onlookers to explain the parking situation, or to ask that they keep moving. A lot of homes have an interactive display meant for people to stop and explore within. If that sounds like your place, you may need to look into some traffic-management solutions.
Security is a big thing we’ve had to deal with over the years, and something we were able to manage quite easily. The amount of effort needed to protect your home also depends on your neighbourhood. The best way you can protect against damage or theft is to design your display in an easy-to-pack-up way. For instance, you could keep small, loose items in a space that can be quickly locked up at the end of the night, and bigger, heavier items outside (weather accepting). Most of our lights outside were mounted on metal frames which were attached to the exterior of the house, so couldn’t be taken very easily. If you don’t have them already, I would strongly suggest an investment into a decent security system, including cameras and/or motion sensors. This will ease a lot of worry about leaving precious items outside.
Although some people have some impeccable ideas, try to come up with creative and unique designs for your home. Even if you’re only putting up a few lights this year, think outside the box!
If you’ve got any ideas, questions or just want to show us your setup, we’d love to hear from you! You can send us a message or photos through our Facebook page!