A Little Friendly Competition

I’m back!

Did you miss me? I missed you.

Over the past few weeks, I took a break to visit family in Virginia and Kentucky, relaxing and celebrating Christmas and the new year. It’s definitely good to be back, though, and I’m excited to see what 2012 has in store.

As a little post-Christmas/end-of-the-holiday-season gift to you, I’ve compiled a lovely montage of lights and d├ęcor from over the past month. These pieces of eye candy dwell exclusively in Southeast Michigan and Southwest Virginia. Now, you might not think that decorations could differ so much from region to region, but in the case of these homes, I’ve definitely found some differences. So, sit back, relax, and let the comparison (or competition, whichever term you prefer) begin.

As decorations started popping up around the beginning of December, I noticed a common thread among many decorated houses: Michiganders like their lights, and they do a good job at putting them up. Maybe holiday decorating is an innate talent for people in cold weather-areas, or maybe it’s the fact that professional lighting companies are popular around here (yes, I’ve seen the trucks—and I know that not all of those triple-decker houses get by without at least a little help); regardless, neighborhoods around here are filled with strategically-strung colors. No sloppy jumbles of lights thrown halfway up a tree for these folks.

Tasteful swirls of color cover trees from top to bottom.
Christmas-Themed Gingerbread House
Not too shabby. Good use of color.
A few lawn ornaments here and there. Very focused.
It seems as though every suburb and town home/apartment division participated in the action.
This is just wonderful. Dedication, I call it. Who says the little houses can't win? Covered in lights.
And of course, what would Michigan be without its cars?

And then, 500 miles away, you have Southwest Virginia.

Welcome to the land of lawn ornaments. People in this region love their inflatable snowmen and plastic Santas, and bigger is always better. Well, maybe not always better, but there’s no denying that these yards sure are fun to look at.

Little home, BIG Christmas spirit.
"Happy Birthday, Jesus."
Charlie Brown and the whole Peanuts gang.
This was just one section of a yard filled with Christmas cartoon character cutouts.
You may also note the big "3" on the roof.
Yup. Just . . . yup.
Nothing says "Christmas" like a blimp carrying snowmen.

WARNING--Inflatable Christmas Character Overload Below:

That's right. No need to adjust your monitor; that is, indeed, a yard cram-packed with inflatable lawn decorations. And yes, it does overflow onto half of the next-door neighbor's front lawn.

Funny story about that last house: we first saw it a couple years ago while out on a drive. It was daytime, so everything was deflated and spread out on the front lawn. I thought it was a yard sale. Heh, heh.

Driving around in December, looking for lights--there's nothing like it.

So, which do you prefer: colorfully illuminated yet contained, or the build-it-bigger approach? I’d love to hear what you think!