Monday Smiles – 12/10/2012

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I was trained in the fine art of tasteful Christmas decoration by my mother.  Don’t overdo it – too many lights just look tacky.   Don’t mix different kinds of lights.  That looks tacky, too.  Don’t use just blue lights … Christmas is a joyful holiday.  No crosses … crosses are for Easter.   Don’t mix Santas and snowmen with the Nativity … Frosty was not one of the three wise men.  No matter that the most my Dad would put up was a single string of lights around the front door, my Mom had her standards.    I’d hear Mom’s Rules when we’d drive to Ridge Road in Hamden, CT where the rich people lived … and where the lights could be more spectacular than in our little neighborhood.  My Mom really liked the big Cape Cod style homes simply decorated with a candle in each window and lighted wreaths on the door.  It’s a look I still like, although I don’t see it much here in SoCal, the land of no Cape Cods and inflatable Christmas decorations.

Last week, Muri and I took a walk around Eastlake, the centerpiece of aeastlake nearby upscale community known as Eastlake Village.   Eastlake is a classic residential lake, a man-made puddle with maximum shoreline for waterfront houses.  You can see an overhead view on the right courtesy Google Maps.  Over the years, the Christmas decorations on houses around Eastlake have become so elaborate that at this time of year, people come from everywhere to drive or walk around the lake.  The water side of the homes are often elaborately decorated and the lights are beautifully reflected in the water.  Many of the lanes leading onto the man-made peninsulas are decorated with a common theme … snowmen, angels, Christmas trees.   Muri will tell you, she gets a running commentary on the lights as we walk … and she probably knows Mom’s Rules by now, too.   Almost all of the houses have a small electric boat they decorate, too.   This weekend, there is an evening parade of the boats around the lake and people line up their chairs early in the day to watch.  My Inner Curmudgeon likes to call it the Newport-Beach-Wanna-Be Boat Parade, after the Christmas parade of yachts that’s held in really affluent Newport Beach at the same time.   I happen to agree with IC that the boat parade seems a bit pretentious but I don’t let that ruin my enjoyment of the lights … or of getting to see most of Mom’s Rules broken in a single place.  Us?  We put up a five lighted wreaths, one on my upstairs office window, two on the garage and two on the front doors.  That’s it.  Mom would be pleased, I think.

Last week, I brought my camera along on our walk, so I thought I’d share some of the lights with you in the spirit of the season.

It’s Monday.  I’m looking back nostalgically.  I’m enjoying this season.   I’m smiling.

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2 Comments on “Monday Smiles – 12/10/2012”


  1. I’m with your mother on every one of her rules, and I’m sure that if she’d been around to see the travesty that is an inflatable lawn ornament, she’d want to stab them like I do. Thanks for taking us on tour with you!

    My house is a brickfront, and it’s got lighted garland around the front door, a wreath on the door and candles in the windows. Makes me smile. The other benefit of classy, minimalist trimming is that it drastically reduces the odds of killing yourself while decorating!

  2. cherperz Says:

    I do think there is a line between beautiful and trashy but I tend to like them all. I admire the effort it takes for people to cover their house with thousands of lights. We tend to go for the more modest approach but were not entirely minimalists either.

    I love all the Eastlake lights. That would be fun to see in person.


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