Take 5: Christmas Lights

I've already planned my post-Christmas clearance sale run to at least double the amount of white lights on these evergreens as well as expand and increase capacity on other shrubbery around the house. These plans will be limited only by how big of a discount I can get on the lights and how many people get to them before me.

Well, I went ahead and did it.

I put up the Christmas lights at our house.

Last year I took advantage of nice weather a few days before Thanksgiving to get them done, though I didn’t actually turn them on until after all the leftover turkey was gone.

If I surprised myself last year by getting a somewhat early start on Christmas lights, I would have never guessed in a million tries that somehow I would find myself in the garage grabbing boxes full of lights not long after Halloween this time around.

The weather was once again the main factor in my decision.

A week straight of sunny days with temps in the 70s isn’t something that rolls around with any sort of regularity in November in N’West Iowa, so when I saw that stretch in the forecast I figured it best to just get it done.

I could’ve waited until Black Friday and maybe the weather that day will be fantastic.

Or, we could be under a foot of snow with winds howling out of the northwest at 30 miles per hour. Nobody can really say for sure and nobody wants to be stringing up lights in that kind of mess.

Any concerns I had about being “that guy” who puts out his Christmas lights before all the Halloween candy in the house has been consumed quickly dissipated when I noticed at least three neighbors doing the exact same thing.

Another factor in my decision was the fact that I had acquired more lights, extension cords, and outdoor timers since last season and needed more time to sort out where everything was going to go.

Our first Christmas in the house I got by with a dozen or so strands of hand-me-down lights and a couple timers I picked up at the store.

This time around I had a little bit more in my holiday lighting arsenal.


See, during an interview for our holiday issue of OKOBOJI Magazine last winter I had learned something that seemed obvious afterward, but I had never thought of before — stocking up on lights and decorations the day after Christmas when they all go on clearance.

I didn’t go full Clark Griswold. I have no intention of getting on the roof, at least not yet.


For now it’s just the evergreens and assorted shrubbery in front of the house that get draped in lights. Some white, some multi-colored, some small bulbs, some large bulbs.

Now I say I didn’t go full Griswold, but I could be getting close to halfway there.

I did wrap some white lights around the deck railing in our backyard and added lights to two more evergreens that were bare last year. I also already have ideas percolating on what I need to buy the day after Christmas this year to expand farther into the backyard as well as brighten up the front even more.

I did spring for the LEDs since they last longer and don’t use up as much electricity. I don’t need anyone at Alliant having to throw the auxiliary power switch if I pull all the juice from the grid.


Like I said, not full Griswold quite yet.