Thanksgiving weekend marks the official start to the Christmas season, and that means putting up all those decorations. But for many these days, the decorating goes far beyond a tree, some tinsel and a wreath. People now spend into the thousands of dollars to decorate their homes and yards. John Emanuel owns No Fuss Lights in Houston, and he says the Bayou City is definitely in the Christmas spirit. "This has been the busiest year I've seen in the six years we've been in the Christmas lighting industry," he says.
That isn't to say that people can't put up an impressive Christmas display on their own. But it takes several things. "The ability to get on a ladder, a basic understanding of electrical infrastructure, and then the patience to get it to look the way you want it to look," says Emanuel. Or you can do what many individuals and businesses do in Houston and pay someone like him to do it. "The big high-end residential jobs tend to be a corporate job of sorts, because we're actually putting up lights at their house for their company Christmas party," says Emanuel. In that way, people can defray some of the cost as a "business expense."
Nevertheless, an impressive Christmas display is not simply about emulating Clark Griswold and trying to one-up your neighbor for sheer volume of lights. Emanuel says it's more about the details. "We do things like spray-paint the extension cords the exact same color as the customer's home, so you can't see where the electrical supplies are coming from," he explains. Emanuel also recommends that homeowners make sure anyone they hire to put Christmas lights up is properly licensed and insured, so the customer isn't left liable if a worker is injured during the job.