Wednesday, December 11, 2019

2019 Flowers Family Christmas Lights

It's the Christmas Season and it's time for my favorite decorating holiday of the year! I love Christmas Lights! Read on to find out what's new this year!

I often get asked, "How long does it take to do?"
It does take a bit of time to put everything up. I start early in the season and handle it in chunks. The old stuff goes up relatively quickly. The new stuff takes a little bit of time to figure out how to assemble, assemble, and figure out how to mount. You put in the time the first year and then it's easier every year after.

Ian is in school. Theresa is at work. Alli helps me pull Christmas lights down from the attic. At the end of each season when lights are 50% off, I stock up. That's why I have so many brand new boxes of lights in the attic. I pass it along to Alli and she sorts it on the floor.

That's a start. She sorted them all by color and then gave me a count of how many I have of each one.

Then as I started working the fence lights, she delivered bags of lights to me. At the end of every season, I put all my lights in labelled gallon ziplock bags so I know which lights go where.

This is November? It is really hot here today.

Every year I want to add something new. This year, I'm focusing on garland. I've had a few gaps in my current layout which I need to fill in. Theresa is helping me wrap garland around new support poles.

The kids are helping sort the gutter clips so I can hang the lights on the roofline. You know what would be really good on this super hot day? Smoothies. Alli was excited to make them.

Alli - I'll take everyone's order!
She grabbed a pencil and paper, wrote the word "Cmoode" on top, and went around asking everyone if they wanted a smoothie. Everyone got their name on the list.

OJ and frozen strawberries, then blend it up.

Very nice work Alli. Those will be perfect.

She was awful proud of herself. They're delicious!

The lights on the windows are going up. Thankful for my little ladder.

Enjoy running through the sprinklers today kids! They're going to be turned off for the next 6 weeks!

Some things take time. Garland is expensive. Especially the big fluffy ones we bought at 75% off years ago. We bought as much as they had in the store, but it still wasn't enough to cover everything Theresa and I wanted. This year everything we wanted will be covered.
But, as I said, garland is expensive. Instead of buying the garland that is $75 for 12 feet, I bought some cheaper garland and braided them together. All the fluffiness at a fraction of the price.

It just takes time. Lots and lots of time. There's a lot of garland going up this year. After braiding the garland, it then gets wrapped in lights. At least it's going to be super easy to put up next year.

Time to get started on the palm trees. I did it at night after the kids went to bed. At night, the critters come out. My hand is for scale.

My brother is here to help! Some lights go so much faster with help.

And look at the early Christmas present Theresa bought me!
My current ladder on the left. It's an A-frame ladder with the top rung at 9 feet. You're not supposed to stand on that top rung though.
My present is the gift of safety, in the form of a much bigger ladder. It has a platform that you're actually supposed to stand on at 10 feet in the air, with a half cage to keep you safe. With my reach, I can get to things that are 18' high! It made a very big difference when it came to decorating the palm trees.

It been a rainy here in So Cal and I didn't want to get up on a slippery roof. It rained this morning, but it's a week into December and it's time to get these final lights on the giant tree in the back yard.
The second most asked question I get on the lights is, "How do you get them in the tree?" First I get on the roof and then I use a 25' extension pole with a fork on the end to drape them over the tree. This one is also easier with help, and I was able to convince Theresa to get on the roof to help out.

It must almost be done because I've got an audience. Richard is watching me finish up while eating popcorn.

And here's the final result! You can see this house from the end of the street. It glows! People are definitely slowing down as they drive by and I've seen a few taking photos. Thanks to the new ladder I was able to get up there with a tripod and take this picture.

This is a picture from a couple years ago, and it's what was bugging me. See how the garland is only on the front facing eaves. I don't like the gaps.

And this is what it looks like this year. Continuous garland from one side of the house to the other. Hooray!

The other thing Theresa requested was garland on the fence. I've had the lights on the fence, but she wanted red lights and green garland on top.

We have a lot of fence line. And do we just put it on the outside of the fence?

No! If you can see it while looking at the from the sidewalk, it gets garland and lights!

There's one other part of the house I haven't been happy with. Even with all these lights, the driveway was a giant blank empty space. I was determined to do something with it, and this arch was perfect. Theresa had the great idea of mixing the green and red lights. It am super happy with how it turned out.

Here's a closer look at a few of the elements.
The kids playhouse is decorated again this year. Instead of wrapping strand after strand around it, Theresa asked if I had any net-lights. I do! Two giant sets of net lights plus some garland and it looks great!

Inside is a mini Christmas tree that the kids decorated.

I'm happy I have lights in the tree, but I feel I could do something more. Any ideas?
Anything symmetric will be difficult.

The green lights in the palm tree are always fun.

The yard is covered in lights too, which almost looks like snow.

The kids love playing in the driveway under the giant arch.

I've wondered how many lights I have, but there's no way I'm going to count them. Instead I'll do some math and guess.
I'm running the whole thing from just 3 outlets (thank you LED lights).
Total power based on my Kill-A-Watt readings are 990 Watts. An average 100 count strand of LED lights uses about 7.2 watts. Doing the math and uh... is that right? I'm sure there's some margin for error, but that puts me at 13,750 lights. Wow. I had no idea.

Power here costs ~25 cents per kilowatt hour, which means that it costs me about $1.50 per day to have all these lights going.
For comparison, my 1 indoor Christmas tree using the old incandescent style lights uses 544 Watts (~$0.75 per day).

Merry Christmas!
May your days be merry AND BRIGHT!

1 comment:

  1. WOW...lots of color and LOTS of lights...the picture from the tripod captures the final look so BEAUTIFULLY! Organization and spreading the task over multiple days was the key to decorating success!! Very resourceful on braiding garland to get that fuller look. Those red & green lit arches are so festive...makes me think of an entrance to a plaza for a celebration...has a welcoming effect into the home. Adding red lights + garland on top of the white lights on the fence work really well the white lights "rise up" it gets "topped off", instead of "disappearing" into the night. Outlining the fronds and covering the trunk look really nice when lit up. Safety first...wonderful gift of safety from T on the new, taller ladder (so glad there was no picture of tiptoes on the top rung of the old ladder!) Great job did lots of hard work!! Regarding the big tree...hmmmm...tough to do too much since it's so high up...let's see...before hanging the light strands up, is it possible to replace (at somewhat random intervals) some of the bulbs/lights with a different color and/or size/shape bulb?...that way, there's more "texture/variety"?...can some of the lights be made into "blinking ones" to give the tree a twinkling effect perhaps?...just some random thoughts. EOM