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Brighter Holidays

November 2, 2012

Merry Hallo-Thanksgi-Hannu-Christma-Kwanzaa!

….Too much? Maybe.

But ever since Starbucks released their annual Pumpkin Spice Lattes earlier this Fall, people have been itching to celebrate the holidays. Early-bird shoppers and children have been making their lists and checking them twice, preparing for the following three months of family-filled, gift-giving, costume-wearing festivities. And first on the list of things to do? Decorate.

For the most part, people have been sticking to the traditionalist styles of ornamentation: a few carved pumpkins that rot by Hallo-eve, a couple corn-stalks and paper turkeys for Thanksgiving, and a single electronic candle in each window for Christmas. Nice, simple, and just enough to show a little taste of the holiday spirit.

Yet, some people aren’t so subtle in their love of these special days, which is still all fine and jolly. Occasionally you’ll get the house on the block that does the full out haunted house, or the reindeer-forest winter wonderland in their front yard.

…Or the neighbor who decks their house with LED lights and a sound system. But these rave-like houses aren’t just dancing to the “Twelve Days of Christmas” or the Ghostbusters theme song, no, they’ve taken the spirit to a whole new level. From last year’s “Party Rock Anthem” to this year’s “Gangnam Style”, these decorated houses have gone pop. And people have definitely noticed.

The trend of extreme decorating seemed to catch attention during Christmas time in 2010. After five years of perfecting the art, the Cadger’s house in Meridian, Idaho came to life with songs like Run DMC’s “Christmas in Hollis” and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “Christmas Eve-Sarajevo” making thousands of LED lights and 64 Light O Rama channels dance along.

But last year, the trend really took off in Riverside, CA at Kevin Judd’s suburban home. With LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” on the top of the charts, he programmed his Halloween light show to dance along, something the band and Youtube users found enjoyable and entertaining, but majority of his neighbors did not. This year, the Euclid Management Homeowners Association has placed a ban on “extreme” home displays.

Fortunately, the homeowners association in Leesburg, Virginia hasn’t turned into the Grinch to steal Brandon Bullis’ holiday spirit. One-upping last year’s achievements, this house parties to thirteen different songs, one of which being the ever-growing fad, “Gangnam Style.”

But like the kid on the block who always bragged about the cool, expensive toy he got after Christmas, is this “love of the holidays” too in your face? Can this even be considered holiday spirit anymore? Especially when we’ve now got houses flashing to dubstep?

The holidays are about having fun, and enjoying the time you have with family and friends. In each of these cases—the Cadgers, the Judds, and the Bullis— the decorations were a family effort and a bonding experience, from placing and programing the lights to choosing the songs. So if celebrating the holidays for these parents and their children is equivalent to creating a dance party for their homes, then why not let them do it? Not only does it allow the parents to show off how “hip” they are with their music and tradition-breaking, but this flashy decorating style lets them relive the childhood joy of Trick-or-Treating and waking up Christmas morning in a more adult-appropriate way. They’ve managed to expand beyond jack-o-lanterns and old socks hanging above the fireplace to make decorating more fun, exciting, and something their children actually want to help them with. So even though it’s a little showy and club-like, if that’s what it takes for them not to lose the holiday cheer, then I’m a supporter. But then again, I’m not living next door to one of these extremists.

One thing is for sure, Santa and his reindeer definitely won’t be able to miss these houses.

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