weather icon Windy
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

Exterior decorations brighten the holidays

The dark nights of December are perfect for holiday lights that brighten streets to greet and welcome family and guests into your home. The lights say “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Hanukkah” and create a moment of “peace on Earth and good will toward all” while inside those brightly lit home are large bowls of chilled eggnog and crispy potato latkes being served with applesauce.

Those holiday lights are a tradition and most homeowners attempt to decorate their homes Thanksgiving weekend or the first week of December. And because of that, it’s been busy for Gil Valenzuela, sales associate in the garden department at Home Depot on West Charleston Boulevard.

“People are buying LED lights in all kinds of colors, along with inflatables such as Santa in his sleigh,” Valenzuela said. “Basic decorations don’t change much, but they do become more colorful, efficient and safer.”

So what’s new this year?

“We have quite a few indoor/outdoor characters from ‘Star Wars,'” he said. “I have a 28-inch tall, self-standing holiday-lighted Yoda. There is also Darth Vader and C3PO. They light up and they’re in their regular outfits. Other stand-ups are more traditional like Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, Peanuts and all of Disney.”

Darth Vader next to Snow White and Snoopy? Well, it is Christmas.

“Another popular Christmas yard decoration is an animated motif,” Valenzuela said.

“They come in all shapes and sizes with various themes. For large yards, consider elves stuffing gifts into Santa’s stocking,” he said. “If your yard has any type of evergreen trees, consider creating an outdoor Christmas tree. It brightens the entire yard. Just string it with minilights throughout the branches, choosing a color theme that matches other outdoor decorations. It’s important to string them among the interior branches instead of just draping them on the exterior branches to make the entire tree brighter. Then add some ornaments to reflect light.”

Bare, leafless trees are the best types to be wrapped because their lighted trunks and branches become magical at night, especially horizontal-spreading varieties. The trunks of the thousands of palm trees found throughout Southern Nevada, when wrapped with white or red lights, show off their vertical, upright forms and draw the eye upward toward the night sky.

When wrapping a tree, and if there are several in the front yard, select the most interesting shapes. Don’t wrap or cover a new or fragile tree with lights and don’t be frugal in wrapping a tree. A tree wrapped with light strands one-third the way up its trunk is not going to look festive or complete. Plan and budget accordingly.

Keeping a color scheme throughout the front yard can extend to the front door. Secure a wreath to the front door, and, if the wreath is bold red, it instantly proclaims Christmas cheer.

Several other types of ornaments can be added for a festive touch such as garlands and bows. To illuminate the entire house or front area, there are spotlights with projectors and there’s even a smartphone app to control those lights.

For all the new lights and gadgets out there, outdoor Nativity scenes are still prominent as well as decorative reindeer and snowmen.

Gloria Vuocolo has been decorating her Henderson home every Christmas with topiary animals placed next to trees and near bushes.

“It’s easy to create a group of lighted, grazing reindeer made of grapevine or artificial greenery,” she said. “Position them in a row to illustrate Santa’s reindeer team or get them to stand, graze or lie down. It brings the yard to life because they are available in different heights and in incandescent or LED light colors.”

Vuocolo browses the Internet for new ideas on outdoor lighting. This year, she is lighting the path to her front door with a strand of clear holiday lights.

“I’ll push the plastic stakes into the ground, slip in the lights and close the plastic hinges to hold the lights in place,” she said. “Then I’ll swish some fake snow or moss between the lights to cover the exposed cord. The stakes will stay in the ground until spring, even after I pull the lights out after the holidays.”

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Where lost, unclaimed baggage goes to be resold

The store that answers the question “What happens to lost luggage that never gets found?” also happens to be a great place to go bargain shopping online.

End of an era as shoeshine stands shut down across US

The shoeshining business has been hurt not only by the pandemic, but also by the growing popularity of more casual footwear.

New COVID-19 origins data point to raccoon dogs in China market

Genetic material collected at a Chinese market near where the first human cases of COVID-19 were identified show raccoon dog DNA comingled with the virus, international experts say.

The health benefits, and potential drawbacks, of napping

While closing your eyes for a few minutes during your busy day may seem like a good idea, it’s important to consider the effects napping may bring.

What to know about prescription drugs promising weight loss

WeightWatchers recently announced it would acquire a telehealth company whose providers prescribe anti-obesity drugs for growing numbers of eager online subscribers.

When it comes to nutrition, cauliflower is a superstar

Like many consumers, you may be on a quest for healthier food options and willing to try something new or a new take on a familiar food. Cauliflower may be just what you’re searching for.