When I was a kid the most elaborate thing you could do to celebrate Christmas was to hang fairy lights in the window – you might have had a spare set left over from the tree (which physically couldn’t take any more decorating) and so taping them to the inside of your living room window seemed a fun thing to do. It’s quite nice and adds a nice festive glow to the neighbourhood.
Then something strange started to happen. Well, a few things happened: eBay, access to cheap Chinese tat and intense competition between neighbours. Quite often accompanied by a lack of taste. Twinkling fairy lights became flashing rope lights and eventually neon garden animals started to appear. Let’s not forget the awful singing snowmen either – cranking out some out of tune and distorted recordings of Christmas songs from 40 years ago the moment someone happens to walk by them. Brilliant.
The result? Houses so bright that they are a danger to Air Traffic Control. Streets that could be seen from the moon. I’m all for good causes and charity fundraisers doing something special to raise awareness, regardless of how good their creation is, but I generally hate the assault on the senses some have become. Thankfully with rising energy prices the numbers have declined in recent years – it must cost a small fortune to power that lot over the Christmas period. This year there were probably half the number there were about 5 years ago.
You would think that the owners of these hugely OTT, attention grabbing neon nightmares, wouldn’t mind having photos taken of their display. This isn’t always the case. On two occasions during this mini-project people came out of their house, and as with all street photography or photojournalism, once you’ve been made it gets very uncomfortable very quickly!
I’m not against people decorating their houses, and certainly not against Christmas or charity work, but quite often “more” gets confused with “better”!