Why people are putting up Christmas decorations early in 202011/19/2020
On a hill above Gypsum Creek Golf Course in the Vail Valley, Greg Bloom has watched with glee as holiday lights blink to life this week.
“I can see almost every house in Gypsum from up here,” Bloom said by phone. “Some neighbors have their lights on already, and I can see other folks hanging them up and testing. But not everybody is going, ‘(Screw) it, I’m putting them on early!’ “
You can count Bloom, 48, among the early adopters. Starting Tuesday, he’s been turning on his exterior holiday lights — 25 different strands across his house and seven trees — every night. He doesn’t care that he’s jumping the gun on the traditional, post-Thanksgiving weekend starting line, when most other residential decorators join the race.
“I don’t have the tricked-out manger or snowman playing guitar. I just wanted to knock it out on a weekend when it wasn’t blizzarding,” said Bloom, the sponsorship sales director for the Vail Valley Foundation — which is hosting its own, 500,000-light display (“Magic of Lights”) for the next six weeks in Vail Village.
“I just bought this house this year,” he added. “I thought, ‘Why the hell would you wait any longer? Everybody needs the cheer now.’ ”
That’s as true in Vail, where the annual Go Pro Mountain Games and World Cup ski races have been canceled due to coronavirus orders, as it is in the “Nutcracker”-free suburbs of metro Denver. As early as the first week of November — and co-mingling with rotting jack-o-lanterns and festive scarecrows — a tangle of holiday lights began creeping onto gables, balconies and bay windows across Colorado.
This year, nobody’s waiting for a (slightly early) dose of light and happiness, say home decorators who are spending more time and money than ever to blow out their interiors and exteriors with tinsel, LEDs and inflatable characters.
“We started with Halloween and transitioned our props to Christmas at the beginning of this month,” said Russ Shaver, 44, who lives at 3070 Hudson St. in Park Hill. “We were almost done until last weekend’s wind event. We are having to go back and redo almost everything that we have done.”
That’s no small task, given that Shaver — who won last year’s Denver Post holiday lights contest — spends hours synchronizing his house’s 100,000 or so lights to “dance” to nightly music, as many modern, over-the-top displays do.
“As far as the outside is concerned, the HOA plays a role in when to decorate more than anything else,” said Joshua Viola, who lives in a custom-built house in Westminster’s Huntington Trails, just west of Interstate 70. “I’m probably breaking the rules by putting my stuff out early.”
Viola dragged his boxes of new and nostalgic decorations out weeks ago, he said. Inside and out, his 9,500-square-foot home projects a cool, contemporary-Southwest aesthetic with reclaimed chunks of driftwood and a mix of red and blue lighting that casts reflections on the silvery accents. (Full disclosure: Viola is a Colorado publisher who has asked me to contribute a short epilogue to a forthcoming anthology of horror writers.)
For the fifth year in a row, Toby Gedek is running a lighting display at his home at 21580 Orleans Circle in Commerce City, with contests, prizes and charity fundraising. He, too, decided to jump into the game earlier than ever.
“Just because of all the craziness, we needed some kind of extra happiness around here,” said Gedek, 27, who this week topped off his exterior display with a 15-foot-star. “Normally I wait until the third week of November, but I had the first section turned on by Nov. 8 this year. My neighbors were happy to see it up early.”
Gedek won’t say how many lights he has hung, since it’s part of his contest. (People who guess the correct amount could win a brand new iPad or cash.) He’s also directing donations for this year’s fundraiser, via a QR code and URL on a sign in his front yard, to homeless veterans; visit bit.ly/3kJ1yvJ to learn more and donate on Facebook.
“One of the guesses is ‘How many extension cords am I using?’ ” Gedek said.
Kyria Lydia, who lives in an apartment complex in Englewood, has watched with amazement the last couple of years as houses across the street from her balcony have burst to life with hundreds of thousands of lights on Elati Street, just off Belleview Avenue.
It’s a good-natured, neighborly competition that has engulfed nearly the entire block, she said, echoing similar streets where neighbors all pitch in (see Boulder’s Cloverleaf Drive).
“I come from Harlem and Queens, so it’s really nice to see,” said Lydia, 46. “I’m like, ‘Oh, look at how wonderfully suburban this is!’ It’s an act of altruism or charity to decorate your house like that. Whatever people say about keeping up with the Joneses and all those little suburban things, they’re bringing a lot of joy to people — even if you’re making fun of how over-the-top it is.”
Lydia is not. This week she took a walk with her husband and talked to some of the homeowners, including Robert Jones and Joanne Wood, at 5080 S. Elati St., who plan to offer 3-D glasses and hot cocoa to socially distanced, outdoor visitors for their residential display.
As impressive as it already is, “we still have quite a bit of work to do,” Wood said via email. This week along her street, people in mechanical cherrypicker-buckets could be glimpsed adding LED lights to trees.
Even if you plan to stay inside for most of this holiday season, self-guided driving tours should be better and more plentiful than ever, home decorators say. Regardless, holiday-decorating comments on social media platforms — normally cauldrons of Grinchiness — have been unusually kind to 2020’s early adopters.
“Judge me,” dared Brad Reubenville, after posting a shot of his interior holiday decorations on Nov. 16. “I welcome it.”
Fortunately, all of the 50 or so comments on that Facebook post shared similar sentiments (and, in some cases, images).
“I even waited a week to post that, because it had been up for a few days already,” said Ruebenville, executive director of Denver’s S.A.M.E. Cafe, over the phone this week. “In the past, I was always the one saying ‘I can’t believe they’re putting up Christmas decorations in October and selling them at stores!’ This year, not so much.
“I even got a sweater for the dog,” he said, “and some holiday candles so I can smell that nonsense.”
Subscribe to our weekly newsletter, In The Know, to get entertainment news sent straight to your inbox.
- How Denver’s new Level Red COVID rules affect museums, holiday events, Christmas light displays and outdoor markets
- Colorado’s 2020 holiday celebrations are about to kick off, but not without some risk
- Denver’s winter celebrations will somehow be bigger this year — but some favorites will be missing
- As some holiday markets cancel, Cherry Creek gets a festive new month-long bazaar
- Make your own Dia de los Muertos ofrenda with help from Denver artists
Source: Read Full Article