Holiday lights fall firmly into two camps. In one, you have the tasteful Martha Stewart fans, Goop-ers, and those who steadfastly believe less is more. And in the other? Those who aspire to turn their property into a cross between Disneyland and/or a rave—with color, noise, and spectacle (not necessarily in that order).
No judgment if you fall into the latter category. Chances are, you get a handwritten thank-you note from your local electric company every January.
But if you do care whether or not your Christmas decor raises the eyebrows of passers-by, read on. Here are some holiday displays culled from Instagram that make our eyes water (not in a good way)—as well as the lessons we learned on how to not decorate for the holidays.
1. Lights are supposed to accent your house, not cover it
This home display deserves a 10 for sheer audacity, not to mention brightness. Remember that “Seinfeld” episode where Kenny Rogers Roasters moves in next door and the red neon chicken keeps Kramer up all night, every night? Enough said.
2. Making money off gawkers? Gauche
What’s tackier than tacky lights? Selling bracelets and hot chocolate to people who come to see them! In the true spirit of the holiday, maybe you should consider gifting those bracelets.
3. Telephone poles don’t need lights
Poor telephone poles—they look so naked, don’t they? Wouldn’t they look much prettier decked out in holiday lights? No, they would not. Stick with your own trees, and leave those telephone poles alone! You aren’t supposed to climb those things anyway, unless you’re looking to get electrocuted.
4. Mixing religious themes with Dr. Seuss is just weird
Should you choose a religious theme for your outdoor display? Or a secular focus? Either is fine, just don’t do both. The Grinch and a nativity scene together is a bit of a head-scratcher.
5. ‘Hang your lights’ isn’t a literal instruction
Yes, it takes time to properly affix holiday lights to your eaves, but doing so is well worth the trouble. Consider this picture Exhibit A. If you’re stringing lights, invest in some light clips. (And maybe a helper.)
6. Think about where you’ll store those lights later
Who has a garage or attic massive enough to store all these decorations the other 11 months of the year? Perhaps, you never plan to put them away…
7. One Santa is plenty, thanks
There is only one Santa—not five. And why is this Santa clan accompanied by Easter bunnies?
8. Angels have a tipping point, too
One angel, or a handful—sweet! But they stop being angelic and start looking rather ominous after, say, two dozen? This visceral fear could be amplified if someone “accidentally” slips a Chuckie doll into the choir.
9. Mixing Christmas with Halloween? Even weirder
This display basically says, “I’m so lazy I didn’t bother to take down my Halloween decorations. Instead, I just kept them up for Christmas, too!” Do you really want to be that person?
10. Test for burned-out bulbs before you hang your lights
The Instagrammer who snapped this pic admitted she should have done her due diligence, plugged in her lights, and checked her bulbs before hanging them. OK, lesson learned. So why, then, didn’t she take down those sad, burned-out lights? Because she’s too busy posting pathetic pics on Instagram, clearly.
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