The holidays are a time of wonderment, frivolity and togetherness. During the holiday season, good cheer is so abundant that people can’t help wanting to spread it. As such, many homeowners adorn their yards with festive lights, inflatables and other holiday-themed decorations.
However, not everyone takes the proper precautions when arranging their displays. Not only can adopting an anything-goes approach to outdoor decoration result in a tacky-looking display, it can also create a number of safety issues. To ensure that your yard looks great and remains safe this holiday season, put the following pointers to good use.
Leaving Lights on Indefinitely
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When it comes to holiday yard decorations, lights placed around a home’s exterior are among the most iconic. Unsurprisingly, most light displays are best viewed at nighttime, when the various colors and patterns are most visible. However, leaving these lights on indefinitely can cause a host of problems. In addition to driving up your power bill, light displays that are never turned off can annoy neighbors who are trying to sleep. Furthermore, since they can barely be seen until the sun goes down, there’s no point in leaving your lights on during daylight hours. To keep your power costs affordable and avoid being a nuisance to your neighbors, turn your lights on after the sun has set and turn them off at a sensible hour – i.e., no later than midnight.
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In recent years, inflatables have become a popular staple of Christmastime yard displays. While it’s true that these accessories are able to complement certain displays, inflatables tend to be more trouble than they’re worth. For starters, they can leave a hole in your wallet, with many mid-sized inflatables sporting price-tags of $100 or more. Additionally, blowing them up requires the aid of a specialized pump, which often has to be purchased separately. Inflatables are also notorious for springing holes, facilitating the need for cumbersome repair or costly replacement. The holidays may be a time of abundance, but why spend this kind of money on something you’re only going to use a few weeks out of the year?
In addition to the financial burdens associated with inflatables, they can also present safety hazards. For example, if these accessories come untethered, they can cause traffic accidents and property damage, so if you live in an area that’s prone to harsh winds, it’s best to avoid inflatables altogether.
Covering Every Inch of Your Yard
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While the desire to spread holiday cheer is perfectly understandable, it’s still possible to overdo it. It seems like every town has a few locally famous residents who go all-out with their holiday displays and cover every inch of their yards with lights, life-sized figurines and other eye-catching props. As such, it’s hardly surprising that these individuals spawn a large number of imitators.
It’s important to understand, however, that these displays are the exception, not the rule, and the people who organize them often have professional assistance and/or decades of experience. Attempting to replicate one of these displays on your own can result in a holiday setup that’s confusing, tacky and electrically unsound. You’ll also create far more work for yourself when it comes time to take the Christmas decorations down.
Failure to Inspect Lights
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Nothing says “Christmas” like houses adorned in colorful string lights. However, these tried-and-true holiday staples can present serious safety hazards if the proper precautions aren’t taken. Although smart storage can help extend the lives of string lights, they don’t last forever and will need to be replaced periodically. With this in mind, carefully inspect your string lights before hanging them each year. If you come across any exposed or frayed wires, you’ll need to purchase a new set.
Decorating one’s home is an essential part of the holiday season. Whether you hang a few strands of lights or turn your entire yard into an interactive Christmas village, outdoor decorating fills both homeowners and passersby with good tidings and cheer. Of course, this isn’t to say that all holiday displays are equally worthwhile. Despite being well-intentioned, some people make decoration blunders that range from poorly thought-out to outright dangerous. Merrymakers who want to get their homes in shape for the holidays would be wise to heed the tips discussed above.