Monday, November 30, 2020

Eight Tips and Tricks for Holiday Exterior Illumination

Originally published in November, 2018. Updated in 2020. 

When my wife and I bought our first house, I was so excited to decorate the outside for Christmas. In reality, my lights probably didn't amount to much, but I was proud of my little house and the decorations we had. That first year, I bedazzled the house with about 750 lights. In my mind, I blinded my neighbors and caused the nuclear power station to flip the switch to the backup generator a la Christmas Vacation.

In the years following, I have shopped after-Christmas sales and added to my stockpile of decorations. From 12,000 lights in 2018 to 18,000 lights in 2020, it has gotten to the point that I need to begin putting lights up at the end of October in order to have the job completed by Thanksgiving Day--the day of the big reveal.

Over the past 20 years, I've not only accumulated a lot of tiny lights, but also learned a few things that I can share with you. So here are the Renaissance Dad Tips and Tricks for Holiday Exterior Illumination.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Turning Dead Palm Trees into Christmas Decorations

The summer of 2020 in Phoenix was absolutely brutal. We broke almost all heat records, with new records in days over 100 degrees (144 days), days over 110 degrees (53), and days over 115 degrees (14). We also broke a record for the highest low-temperatures, with 28 nights not dropping below 90 degrees. Needless to say, this summer was intense.

So it's not surprising that all around the Valley of the (Intense) Sun, people had their palm trees crisping up and dying. When two of my queen palms started looking like something out of an Indiana Jones desert scene, I thought they were not getting enough water. Then I noticed that palm trees throughout my neighborhood looked the same, so I knew these were deader than a Monty Python Norwegian Blue. 

I hesitated to cut them down, since each Christmas I wrapped them in red and white lights and made them look like candy cane sticks. But I also didn't want to have dead palm trees throughout the holidays. 

What's a boy to do... 

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