It seems with each passing year, just decorating the Christmas tree or hanging a wreath on the front door doesn't cut it anymore for the holidays.
More and more homes across the country are upping their Christmas light game. Some residents are covering their homes in hundreds of thousands of lights and dancing characters and others are setting their well-timed light displays to music.
But this year, ABC’s holiday decorating competition series, “The Great Christmas Light Fight,” is no longer pitting individual McMansions against each other but instead decking the halls of entire neighborhoods.
One of the neighborhoods featured on the show is in the aptly named Celebration, Florida, where 11 houses synced up their light displays to Michael Buble, used holographic Santas and turned trampolines into projection screens.
In Florida, December usually means 70 degrees with 45 percent humidity, but in Celebration, the residents used snow machines to create a white Christmas.
Celebration is one of three different neighborhoods competing for $50,000 in prize money in the ABC series' third season, which airs Monday. The others are Waipahu, Hawaii and Gilbert, Arizona.
Given this, it might not be surprising to learn that the National Retail Federation estimates that Americans will spend $7.2 billion this year just on Christmas decorations.
Keith Shaw of Cranbury, New Jersey isn’t competing in “The Great Christmas Light Fight,” but has one of the biggest Christmas light displays in the Garden State -- and all of it is timed to music.
Shaw taught himself how to program more than 125,000 lights that he has in his front lawn this year. The “Christmas tree” in his front yard is a giant cone of string lights attached to a flagpole with “a lot of extension cords,” he said, about 25,000 feet of them.
“There’s over 47,000 light bulbs on this tree,” Shaw said. “Rockefeller Center [Christmas tree] has 45,000 on their biggest year.”
Shaw said it took him 54 hours just to put the tree up, and that’s just one feature in his annual Christmas light show. His whole lawn and the roof of his house is a light grid, and he has a wall of 64 snowflakes made up of a total of 6,400 lights. Next to that is a light display made to look like a fountain.
“Just like the Bellagio Fountain except with lights,” he said.
Shaw draws enormous crowds when he puts on his Christmas light show three nights a week. Although some of his neighbors have complained, this is Shaw's ninth year putting on the light display and he hopes to keep the Christmas spirit at his home merry and very bright.