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How much in the budget for Holiday Lights?
Old 12-02-2004, 07:02 AM   #1
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How much in the budget for Holiday Lights?

I'm just curious to see what board members spend on holiday lighting.

Our spend is negligible, a couple of hours spent putting out last years' lights bought for under $50 at Walgreens. Many of my neighbors, however spend $1000 - $1500 on getting their lights profesionally put up and taken down. Including some who are doing well this year in the oil industry.

Earlier this week someone told me of a family who spent $15,000 this year - I can just hear my father saying "more money than sense".

But, on a more serious point - isn't it this kind of spending which keeps the US economy going full steam ahead? We all need to be very grateful that we have countrymen who are prepared to spend, spend, spend.
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Re: How much in the budget for Holiday Lights?
Old 12-02-2004, 07:20 AM   #2
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Re: How much in the budget for Holiday Lights?

We put the same lights up each year - ourselves. I saw an ad for people who put lights up, never knew about that before. Since we just moved, we need to put new nails and hooks up this year. Otherwise, same lights go up on the same hooks each year.

I did add an electrical plug under the eves just for Xmas lights so it will be easier to plug them in.

I also use a timer so the lights don't stay on all night to save a little electricity.
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Re: How much in the budget for Holiday Lights?
Old 12-02-2004, 08:20 AM   #3
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Re: How much in the budget for Holiday Lights?

I put a set of outdoor icicle lights on my balcony railing and a set of indoor lights on my xmas tree. the lights probably cost me 20 bucks total a couple of years ago. Last year I turned them on probably 5 times during the month of Dec for few hours (times when I entertained people at my place). This year probably the same. I don't usually turn the lights on unless I have company.

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Re: How much in the budget for Holiday Lights?
Old 12-02-2004, 10:34 AM   #4
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Re: How much in the budget for Holiday Lights?

We use the same short string of lights every year. If the mood hits, we string them around the edge of our kitchen window which faces the street.

A few years ago I picked up a flat metal Christmas tree decoration for three bucks that we display from another window. Only three bucks and about two feet tall.

One indulgence is our nativity set(s). We have four and I set them up in the living room to keep us focused on the meaning of the holiday.

Anyone remember Advent wreaths and calendars? Anyone still use them?
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Re: How much in the budget for Holiday Lights?
Old 12-02-2004, 11:19 AM   #5
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Re: How much in the budget for Holiday Lights?

I spend $0. I gave the job of hanging outdoor lights to my dh and he is just not into it. He did it one year out of 30. I must not be either because my track record is worse than his. :-/LOL

I do appriciate all the people who do take the time and effort. Thank You.
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Re: How much in the budget for Holiday Lights?
Old 12-02-2004, 11:32 AM   #6
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Re: How much in the budget for Holiday Lights?

Like Darlandolis, $0.

We don't do holiday lights, though we certainly appreciate the results of those people who do. (Like the guy on the next block over who rented a cherry-picker to put up his lights. They look great.)
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Re: How much in the budget for Holiday Lights?
Old 12-02-2004, 02:28 PM   #7
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Re: How much in the budget for Holiday Lights?

No lights for us. The house is down in the woods and cannot be seen from the road. (I love to p--- in the woods.) Also, we usually go out of town to the home state concentration of relatives for Christmas.
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This year, zero!
Old 12-02-2004, 10:52 PM   #8
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This year, zero!

Our house stands out in the neighborhood this time of year for its imitation of a black hole. *And if you think your neighbor spends too much on the lighting, watch the "Decorating for Christmas" shows on HGTV.

As a lapsed Lutheran, my adolescent Christmas holidays were a crazed juggling between the religious stuff and the commercial stuff.

The "worst" Christmas came on a Friday. *You had the Thursday night Christmas Eve service, preceeded by weeks of "last-minute" choir crisis rehearsals. *(Hey, if you gotta be there you might as well be doing something.) *Sometimes this was even timed to end at midnight, although driving home in Pittsburgh's winter weather was exciting enough during daylight. *A few short hours later you had the Christmas morning service. *(Luckily the sunrise version of this never caught on.) *Next day was the "day after Christmas" service for reasons that I probably forgot soon after catechism. *And the next day-- it's Sunday! *Even the pastor was struggling for meaningful sermons.

The commercial side was even more hyperactive: *Shopping. *More shopping. *Gift exchanges. *Baking. *Even more shopping. *Visits to relatives you haven't cared enough about to visit since last year. *Yet even more shopping & baking for their impending visit to your house. *If I'd known then what a Myers-Briggs profile was I would've immediately understood what the holidays do to an overstimulated INTJ.

The reductio ad absurdum came when I reported to my Pearl Harbor submarine to find that I had "just missed" the holiday decoration competition. There were over a dozen submarines inport that year, all of them festooned with testosterone-drenched blinking lights and imaginative uses of raised periscopes. It's a good thing they were on shore power because Naval Reactors would have had to significantly adjust their overhaul budget for the nuclear fuel consumption. Our XO was seriously ticked off that a rival sub had won the competition "AGAIN!!". Later I learned that the rival's crew had spent the previous weekend working overtime to get the decorations in place. I can only imagine how they felt as they went back home that evening to decorate their family trees.

So in a hyper-reaction to those years of enforced corporate worship, crazed spending, and monuments to excess, our lighting budget has stayed below $50 (total) over the last 20 years. *That bought an artificial tree (garage sale) with lights, tinsel, and colored glass balls. *Ornaments have been provided by family gifts and kid's crafts.

Don't get me wrong-- I'm not a Scrooge and I enjoy a good gathering just about any time. *But I don't see the need for going overboard on the religion & commercialism as if to make up for an entire year's worth of neglect to both categories. *

One of my happiest holiday memories is taking the boards to Barbers Beach last Christmas for our kid to test out her new paddling gloves. *There were dozens of families on the waves, all enjoying their presents and the time with each other. *I never found that Christmas spirit in the churches or the shopping malls!

Co-author (with my daughter) of “Raising Your Money-Savvy Family For Next Generation Financial Independence.”
Author of the book written on "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement."

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Re: How much in the budget for Holiday Lights?
Old 12-03-2004, 02:29 AM   #9
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Re: How much in the budget for Holiday Lights?

Believe it or not, some of my worst memories of my
first marriage (32 years) were of the holidays.
The expenses, the shopping, the work tree - decorations, the trips to the in-laws, the pile of gifts
I neither wanted, nor could use. Bah Humbug! It was
just torture for about 3 weeks. Truly, I love
Christmas but hated all the hubbub and bother.
Now, I send about 40 cards, buy gifts for the family
of course, and hang 2 wreaths on our garage lights.
Maybe one family get together for a meal. Much more
enjoyable for me now.

John Galt
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Re: How much in the budget for Holiday Lights?
Old 12-03-2004, 02:04 PM   #10
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Re: How much in the budget for Holiday Lights?

I've never been one for outside displays or lights. If it's for me to enjoy, why is it on the outside of the house? Oh yeah, to show off to the neighbors!

I'm pretty minimalist on decorations. I put up a string of lights somewhere in the house (usually draped over a doorway or window, on the inside) and we have a small (2-ft.) artificial tree that looks festive with a few decorations on it, without being too much. I might put up one or two other things like a colorful paper chain that I made a couple years ago.

I actually enjoy the holidays, since I refuse to participate in the madness. I only get presents for my husband (something small, and some years we just designate a fun (not too expensive) purchase as "our" present), my parents & brother, and my in-laws. And they're small presents - a book, some food, something like that. We only go to holiday work parties if they sound like fun (ie. don't involve much driving, etc.) and have a mildly festive but not too complicated holiday dinner.

I just shake my head over people who get caught up in the whole panic-and-overspend thing... it's just NOT worth it! (I ended up writing a full article on how to extricate oneself from holiday madness, on my web site - I'm always surprised by how it just doesn't naturally occur to many people that they *can* do things differently.)
Reflections on spending, saving, and living simply:
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Re: How much in the budget for Holiday Lights?
Old 12-06-2004, 11:17 AM   #11
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Re: How much in the budget for Holiday Lights?

O.K. I have to update my zero answer to $7 because my dh asked me about putting up lights this year. He does not want to put up lights around the front door or the front walk but wants to outline the garage door. LOL. We went out and bought about $6 worth of lights and $1 for a light socket to plug converter. If he does not use them I am going to put them on the tree next year.
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