the shining star(s)

many, many of you have come to know and love our neighbor bret over the years for his fantastic and much-anticipated holiday light displays. and those who are new to us this year will hopefully appreciate what is about to unfold before you, for bret puts many hours of time and thought into his particular brand of holiday entertainment.

this year i recorded the process of putting the light show together, beginning a couple of days after thanksgiving. the entire front of the house had been stripped bare of halloween and thanksgiving decorations, the pumpkins out away, and the porch swept clean.

monday, november 28th
the tree has gone up inside the house and few lights put out along the walk. bret tests the blue icicle lights that will be the background of the porch roofline. there was some sort of gap in the blue lighting at first, which he later corrected.

tuesday, november 29th
bret lays in a layer of white lights along the roofline and begins to wind garlands around the porch columns. this is one of my favorite photos because in it, bret is up on the ladder, actually hanging lights. some large christmas balls have also been hung.

wednesday, november 30th
white lights are up and a red layer is added (bret and connie are very fond of a red, white, and blue color scheme). i noticed that bret did a lot of his work at night, when he could see exactly how the lights would look when lit.

thursday, december 1st
by early evening, when the house was lit, i saw that garland had been added along the front of the porch rail, probably the night before. you can see from this photo that the sky wasn’t quite dark yet, so work had not begun for the evening.

but by later on, the large wreath was lit and santa has appeared front and center as the the main attraction of the show. the columns were now fully garlanded with strands of pine and lights.

friday, december 2nd
once the lights have been hung to set the stage, bret begins to add the dimensional elements of the scene by bringing out the life-sized elves, snowmen, and reindeer to arrange in tableaux between the house and the sidewalk. santa’s throne is now lit and a small tree also appears in the uppermost window of the house.

you can’t see it in the photos, but santa also dances—activated by either noise or movements on the porch, he shakes from head to toe like elvis, which sets the surrounding light strings in motion along with him. hilarious!

saturday, december 3rd
the race is on—bret was out there in it all weekend, filling in with more characters and more lights, which were strung throughout the tree branches. the difference is amazing

here’s a full frontal shot; you can see how the tree lights make the display look so much bigger.

the cool thing is that there is plenty to see during the day too—it’s a real conversation starter with the neighbors and passersby. even the dogs love it (or maybe they especially love it)

in the daylight hours you can see more of the handcrafted details that go into the decorations. bret has created a number of hand-painted the pieces for the tableaux, many from found objects and salvaged materials—some from stuff that came out of the walls of our own house.

while the elves are mischievously adorable, these christmas balls have always been a personal favorite—each one is different and homey, with tiny details you have to look closely to see.

this piece is made from the dried out husk of the vines that climbed all over his porch during the summer and fall.

there’s plenty to see, day or night!

saturday, december 10th
the next weekend was the final push and it was the coldest weather of the year so far. i had to hand it to connie and bret for braving the cold both days to put the final touches on their yard.

even lucky helped out. connie showed me the pictures of their house that appeared in our local paper; she couldn’t be more proud of them.

finally, all was set and we’ve been enjoying the results ever since—and now you can, too. thank you bret for a fun and vivid reminder of holiday joy each year; we appreciate it!

from us to you, our much simpler, but no less sincere, offering

a happy and peaceful holiday to all!

16 Responses to “the shining star(s)”

  1. Leena says:

    Greetings from Finland, the home of Father Christmas! I am speechless…

  2. josiekitten says:

    Wow! You have to admire his dedication! That is one impressive display that must bring a lot of pleasure to those who pass by. Fascinating to watch its progress too. I have to say that I like your more modest offering better though!!

  3. Luisa says:

    As I said before, you can’t get bored in that neighborood! I wish you and David a joyous holliday and a happy 2012!

  4. Magi says:

    That looks fabulous – what a guy to decorate for our benefit! We love to cruise the neighborhood on Christmas Eve to check out the decorations. It just shows everyone’s spirit.

  5. Christine says:

    I always look forward to the post about Bret’s xmas decorations! He must think it’s a hoot that so many knitters around the world look for this :) Happy Christmas!

  6. Judy says:

    Thanks for sharing the transformation of Bret and Connie’s decorations from Halloween to Christmas. The day-to-day additions were fun to follow. What a lot of hard work!

    Loved yours and David’s entrance, Anne. Very welcoming!

  7. Bev S. says:

    I was hoping to see that either Bret or Connie would be sporting a knitspot hat/scarf/fingerless glove design. Ah well!

    hope you are having a wonderful Christmas. Thank you so much for your blog and your patterns!

  8. amanda says:

    That is a lot of work! I missed the picture in the paper, somehow…hmm…probably glanced at it and didn’t make the connection.

    Happy Holidays!

  9. Beverly says:

    Fabulous! I always look forward to seeing the houses in our that are decorated like this. They make me smile.

    Thanks for sharing this once again.

  10. Rosemary McN says:

    What a wonderful Christmas card! Thanks for sharing! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to one and all.

  11. NatlParkNitter says:

    I love your purple front door, Anne! Your design style extends to your beautiful entry. Happy New Year!

  12. Ann says:

    Happy Holidays to you & David.

  13. Lanafactrix says:

    One year, a neighbor of ours had those lighted deer from Costco–you know the ones that move their heads up and down like they’re grazing?

    On spotting them, our dog, Minnie, FROZE in place and then began to stalk–”Could it be?! Gee, thanks, Santa! Deer of my very own?”

    Poor thing was so disappointed.

    This has nothing to do with your post, of course, but the comment about dogs loving the display reminded me. Merry Christmas to you and David and your mom and Uncle Tom Cobleigh and all!

  14. DenaZS says:

    Thanks for the pictures of our “old” home town. Bret’s house is pretty amazing! I enjoyed the pictures of the crazy quilt scarf that were taken around Canton. Good to see those too.

  15. janna says:

    Bret’s house is amazing, and yours is beautiful! Merry Christmas!

  16. Melanie says:

    Wow, there is nothing like this kind of overload here in Switzerland!
    What a lot of work it must be – and it must be really expensive for all that electricity all season, too!! Plus the house doesn’t look too big – where on earth do they store it all?!!! Still, as others said, my admiration for their dedication…

    Here, there are almost only white lights, thankfully, and your entrance is beautiful ;) ) very tasteful!! LOL