Light up your lawn|
As Christmas nears, more and more houses will start to light up with decorations, and options abound to make yours unique.
The Associated Press
On cold December nights in Fremont, Neb., a glowing white figure rises
above the treetops. Her robe sparkles in the darkness. Her halo
shimmers. Stretching 36 feet into the sky, she's the tallest Christmas
decoration most people have ever seen.
might be the most expensive, too, at a price that could buy a luxury
car. But to Debbie Durham, 58, who had the towering angel designed for
her yard, it's more than just a lawn ornament.
"The first angel I ever put up was above my garage,"
Durham says. "I was having health concerns and it was after my divorce.
It was like this angel, she was embracing me every time I came home."
the frenzied commercial holiday season gets under way, visions of
inflatable snowmen and mechanical Santas dance in homeowners' heads.
Whether you want to create a lavish display like Durham, save a few
bucks or simply be friendly to the environment, getting into the
holiday spirit has never been easier.
LAVISH YOUR HOME
Travis Freeman likes to position Santa and his levitating reindeer in
various unusual settings. Santa in a hot air balloon. Santa driving a
motorboat, reindeer on water skis. Santa in a sleigh, reindeer zooming
by on motorcycles.
did that for a guy who was a huge Harley (Davidson) fanatic," explains
Freeman, founder of Brite Ideas, an Omaha, Neb.-based holiday
decorating franchise. His company caters to people with deep pockets
and grand schemes for outfitting their homes in holiday-themed pizazz.
company serviced 40,000 homes last year. A popular seller is
custom-designed steel silhouettes with lights attached, like Durham's
giant angel or the waterborne Santa. For less ambitious folks,
decorating franchises have a slightly different appeal: They'll do all
"I guess first and foremost people don't like the
hassle," explains Brandon Stephens, director of marketing for Christmas
Decor Inc., another decorating franchise. "And second of all, they want
a better result."
that rickety ladder and that short-circuiting string of lights. For a
standard fee of $1,400, Christmas Decor will bedeck the outside of your
home in holiday splendor — and you won't ever have to leave the couch.
got a company that mows their yard, cleans their pool. It kinda makes
sense to have somebody install their lights," Freeman says.
DECORATE ON THE SLIM
With the current mortgage crisis and bleak economic outlook, some people aren't eager to clean out their wallets to decorate.
undecided how these negative feelings are going to affect people when
it comes to buying new holiday decorations," says Pam Danziger,
marketing expert and author of "Why People Buy Things They Don't Need."
"The only purpose (decorations) serve is to give you an emotional lift.
Because they're affordable, they're cheap thrills."
Komarnitsky is something of a holiday decorating sleuth. All year long,
he pokes around garage sales, thrift stores — even his local grocery
store — in an ongoing hunt for new decorations.
Hulk, I actually won him at a contest the local supermarket was
(having)," explains Komarnitsky, of Boulder, Colo. The Hulk joined a
brigade of inflatables — including Elmo and Homer Simpson — lining his
candy cane-strung, lighted roof and front lawn.
Komarnitsky's display isn't just thrifty, it's charitable. While viewing the home through webcams at www.komar.org,
Internet surfers can click a button and donate money to the University
of Maryland for research on celiac disease, which has affected both of
Komarnitsky's sons, Dirk, 9, and Kyle, 6. They've raised more than
$20,000 over the years.
Another word to the frugal: Buy most of your decorations in the offseason, when discounted prices abound.
major retailers are also catering to shoppers' spending limitations
this year. Wal-Mart's "Secret In-Store Specials" make low-price deals
available only to people who click on the company's Web site or sign up
for e-mail or text message alerts.
Feeling guilty about the pending post-holiday electricity bill? Check
out the Earth-friendly LED lights, or light-emitting diodes, which burn
brighter than regular holiday lights and consume 80 to 90 percent less
energy, says Sierra Magazine editor Jennifer Hattam.
"It doesn't look like you have an eco-friendly decoration, it just is one," she explains.
popularity of LED lights, which cost roughly 30 percent more than
regular lights, has grown steadily in recent years, according to
"LED lights are half of our sales now," he says. "They're the colors that never fade."
Recycling wreaths and trees after the holidays is another environmentally savvy decorating tip.
whenever possible, decorate with candles or things you might use
throughout the year, not just at the holidays," says Hattam.
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