Christmas is celebrated in many countries and under a variety of different names. In Scandinavian Norse mythology, a similar celebration referred to as “Yule” takes place around Christmas time. In the Netherlands, they celebrate St.Nicolas’ Day. Although many traditions are passed from culture to culture, such as a Santa-like figurehead delivering presents to children in countless countries, other traditions differ. In the United States, decorating the house in Christmas lights is one of the uniquely American traditions that sets our holiday apart from others. Just look around–there are fine examples of Christmas light displays everywhere.
Here Comes the Neighborhood
Photo by Alex Liivet via Flickr
New York City is known for being the epicenter of American culture. As one of the United State’s largest and most densely populated cities, it’s bound to be the home of some of the most passionate holiday fanatics. Enter Dyker Lights. For 11 months of the year this neighborhood in Brooklyn is called “Dyker Heights”, but come Christmas, the entire neighborhood is transformed into a majestic city of lights. Dyker Lights has become the prime destination of those looking to have their minds blown by ludicrous displays of light.
What keeps Dyker Lights relevant after 30 years is its citizens. The spirit of competition is thicker than the snow in December. What began as simple displays of light has evolved into full-blown interactive displays that include music, mechanics, and more. Many of the houses are designed by professionals, and as far as Christmas lights displays go, Dyker Lights is the pinnacle. Every single house and apartment is bursting with personality and design ideas perfect for transferring to one’s own home.
Stop the Show
Excessive doses of holiday cheer can never be a bad thing, unless you slow traffic to a halt by displaying one of the most impressive charitable light shows in the United States. The “Amazing Grace Christmas House” was located in Pleasant Grove, Utah before the producers were forced to shut down the show. The light display generated over $40,000 for the Utah Make-a-Wish Foundation using only an on-site collection box.
& the World Record Goes to…
Photo by Alex Liivet via Flickr
Although Christmas lights can be found virtually everywhere in the U.S. during the holidays, there are some rare exceptions that exist across the Pacific. The Richards family, who live in Canberra, Australia, have the distinct honor of being able to say without a doubt that they have the greatest residential Christmas light display in the world. In fact, their house was documented in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2013 for having the most Christmas lights on a single residential property. Guinness counted 502,165 lights; an astronomical number of bulbs that costs the family an additional $2,500 in electricity for the month of December alone. The family used nearly every type of light available on Christmas Lights Etc.! Tours of the residence raise money to support SIDS and Kids, a charity that works toward finding solutions to stillbirths and fatal sleeping accidents.
If you want to achieve decor divinity, the most important part of your strategy needs to be commitment. None of the preceding light displays would have been possible without an appreciative audience. Whether looking towards these examples for design inspiration or a lesson on giving, these light displays show that celebrating with lights is anything but tacky.