Just call me Clark Griswold

One of my favorite phrases to explain certain behaviors when talking to my wife is: That’s why I bought a house.

I wanted to plant a garden, that’s why I bought a house.

I wanted to hang up Christmas lights, that’s why I bought a house.

I wanted to be able to just put the dog in the front yard when I get home from work at midnight, not have to walk her, that’s why I bought a house.

Anyway, I didn’t really buy a house to hang Christmas lights, but it is a nice side benefit. And while you can certainly hang lights in an apartment, it just isn’t the same.

At least not for what I want to do.

Our version of the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree. Our Monkey Puzzle Tree is a strange beast, so we decided why not dress her up for the holidays.
Our version of the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree. Our Monkey Puzzle Tree is a strange beast, so we decided why not dress her up for the holidays.

Growing up my dad liked to hang up lots and lots of lights, making the display more elaborate each year. His idea was to start small and then buy one new thing each year and keep making it better and better.

It started with us just lining the gutters with our lights and hanging a star on the chimney. By the end, we had all the gutters, peaks, and parts of the roof covered in lights. We had candy canes. We had the railing up to the front door lined in lights. We covered bushes. We did everything imaginable – except put up those hideous blowup decorations.

I’m not really sure where my dad got his love for Christmas lights. I prefer to think it came from his love of slapstick comedy and movies like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. My dad isn’t nearly as hapless as old Clark Griswold, but I can see a bit of him in the Christmas light display version of Griswold.

Randy hanging lights at his Spokane house, while Mick and Craig “help.”


In fact, even with his move to Spokane, he continues to put up a lot of lights. Every time us kids go to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving we are generally sent outside on the ladders to scale their roof and put up the lights.

Tori said she wanted to climb on the roof, so I put her to work immediately.
Tori said she wanted to climb on the roof, so I put her to work immediately.

His decorations have changed over the years, getting dramatically less awesome if I may so myself – though his HOA in Spokane is likely to blame for that. We had lots of colorful lights growing up, and now he only uses white lights.

Anyway, now that I bought a house of my own I can finally hang lights up again.

So despite it not even being Thanksgiving yet, I convinced my friend Thomas to come over and scale my roof, while Catarina and I worked down below. We strung lights along the gutters, shrugging off the cold weather and had a good time.

Turns out, though, that five strands doesn’t do the job. So, much to Veronica’s chagrin, I was back at Lowe’s buying more lights Saturday.

Christmas cover photo
I like the old school, multi-colored lights the best. In the future, we hope to gussy up the fence as well.

This time, I made Tori get on the roof, as we completed the lights’ journey covering the gutters.

For an added touch, we decorated our Monkey Puzzle Tree with ginormous ornaments, small lights and eventually will put fake presents under it. We live really close to an elementary school and I have plans to use the Monkey tree to try and amuse the kiddos over the years.

We bought giant ornaments at Goodwill and put up small lights on the Monkey Tree, and plan to add fake Christmas presents later.
We bought giant ornaments at Goodwill and put up small lights on the Monkey Tree, and plan to add fake Christmas presents later.

So, we start small – just like my dad did. And plan big – just like Clark Griswold.

One day, I plan to cover my entire fence, all the fir trees in the backyard, my chimney, the peak of my roof, and much more.

Afterall, that’s why I bought a house.

– Craig Craker

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Franny says:

    Now I’m picturing Craig in an ear flap winter hat, an old robe and smoking a cigar. I really want to call you Cousin Eddie.

    Like

  2. Herminia says:

    Love it! We did the same. Decor peaked when Brianna was in about middle school. We did a big silhouette of the three wise men and a manger with lots of lights. This year Armando kept his multi colored lights up and on year round in remembrance of his mom. She loved the lights too. He would have all the decorations up year round if I let him. Great Griswold, I mean Craker, tradition😊 LOVE the Charlie Brown tree

    Like

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