December 19th, 2007

Err . . . hi, slightly crazed

Favorite Awful Outdoor Christmas Decoration

So, a seasonal topic: awful outdoor Christmas decorations.

Here's mine, which is new this year:

Someone in the neighborhood has three white plastic trees on their lawn. These trees are covered in lightbulbs that each flash white, red, blue, or green. The special thing here is that they flash in time with synthetizer versions of Christmas songs that are played, loudly, from a speaker attached to the middle tree.

It's like a small-scale version of those horrible Trans-Siberian Orchestra commercials.

We marveled at this for a week or two after it first went up, and then it went silent, leading us to wonder whether it broke or the neighbors complained. (You can hear it all up and down the block.) But, last night, it was back! Maybe the neighbors are on vacation.

So, for me, that wins because of the noise factor. In a way, it's a good thing it went up this year, because otherwise I'd have a hard time deciding between these two:

First, there was the helicopter. I'm serious, a helicopter. Up on the roof of someone's attached garage, a 2D outline in colored lightbulbs, with flickering blades to make it look like they were turning. This only lasted a few weeks, and probably fell victim to wind.

Second, there's one that requires a little setup. A local house has a set of colored lights wound around the front door columns. These slowly fade in and out of different colors, and then suddenly! they all flash really quickly! And then go back to fading in and out.

Then, one year, a nativity scene appeared on this house's lawn. Mary, Joseph, infant Jesus, fine, fine. Except that the nativity is another 2D creation in colored lightbulbs. Combined with the flashing lights, the net effect is, as Chad put it, like something out of Las Vegas: "The Holy Family! Three shows nightly!"

And you know, I really can't decide which is more awful. The helicopter has randomness going for it, but the Vegas display has that unintentional (I presume) effect . . .

Anyway. Tell me about your favorite awful outdoor Christmas decoration! (I'm specifying Christmas because as far as I'm aware other winter holidays don't go in for this kind of thing, but hey, feel free to prove me wrong.)