It's not something I'd ever do, but a lot of people love to festoon the front of their house with Christmas lights and other lit-up features, creating a display that looks quite spectacular in the dark.
Near to where my cousin Rosemary lives in Kent are three houses, two of them side by side, and one of them on the opposite side of the road, and every year they make their houses and front gardens look amazing. Rosemary tells me that one family spends five days building their display.
Anyway, here are the pictures I took yesterday evening. Click on the pictures to see an enlarged view. I'm not going to suggest which is the best, nor make any comment on style, inventiveness, or whether it is in perfect taste. Judge for yourself.
My pictures don't of course capture the movement of lights winking on and off, or travelling down strands.
I will say that the families concerned have produced something very well worth seeing. Plenty of people bung something colourful up without any sense of design, but this is much better than that. LEDs are now the thing, and presumably the electricity cost doesn't actually break the bank.
Years ago, this kind of display was very unusual and might get into the local news. Not so now, of course, even for displays that go rather further than this. I suppose that if an entire street were lit up, it might make some report. You know, a street full of neighbours aggressively trying to cap each other with their individual takes on Christmas Lights.
I don't think people decorate their houses in aid of charity any more, but it did happen in my village during the second half of the 1990s. One house in particular comes to mind, that specialised in Flying Snowmen, making use of the street trees outside, and covering house and front garden with a crowded, frantically-flickering, garishly-coloured display that people really did walk out of their way to view. There was a box by the garden gate, inviting you to pop some money in, towards some unspecified charity. And people did. (This was twenty years ago, when saying 'It's for charity!' was readily believed, and went unquestioned, and generally produced an instant (and unthinking) response. The people who put on that dazzling display did it for several years, then abruptly stopped. We all wondered what had happened. And then a very nice new house extension was built.
M--- and I were highly cynical about the source of the cash for that.