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Announcing Our Holiday Decorations Contest

I’m not a big holiday decorator. I put some electric candles in the windows, and the Christmas cards I get go on the mantlepiece. Sometimes I set up a tiny Mexican creche on a little shelf in my bathroom. I figure after that long trip, Mary and Joseph are gonna want to use the john. If I’m feeling especially jolly, and someone asks me to buy a wreath from their service club’s fundraiser, I’ll put it on my front door. That’s it.

So, as decorations go, that puts me someplace between Ebenezer Scrooge and a fashionable minimalist. In other words, bo-ring.

Fortunately others don’t feel the same way, and I’m glad. I enjoy other people’s holiday spirit.

To honor and celebrate that spirit, we’re having a holiday decorations contest as part of our virtual holiday event, A December to Remember. It’s a way to celebrate the season while still social distancing.

With apologies to Irving Berlin and Fred Astaire, we’re calling the contest Putting on the Glitz (this would be a good time to go down a YouTube wormhole starting with the Gene Wilder version of the song from Young Frankenstein). Putting on the Glitz celebrates the variety of ways—from no glitz to glitz to the max—in which we decorate our homes for the holidays.

Any residential property in Centre County is eligible: single family homes, duplexes, even apartment balconies—as long as the decorations are visible from the street or sidewalk. Groups of homes can also join the fun, as long as the properties adjoin.

The entry fee is $10 for a single home and $20 for a group of homes. The entry deadline is December 11, 2020.

We have a great panel of five judges who will select the contest winners. They will visit the entries separately and will meet online to select the winners and award prizes. The judges are:

The judges will award prizes in two categories—for traditional and contemporary decorations. In addition to winners, runners up, and honorable mentions, the judges, at their discretion, will award prizes for Best Use of Color, Best Use of Technology, Best Use of Traditional Materials, and Overall “Wow” Factor. The top prize in each category will be $100.

The complete set of rules can be downloaded from our Putting on the Glitz web page. One rule deserves a special mention: political figures and messages are verboten. There’s a time and a place for those, and this is not it. So, if you can’t decorate your house without referring to a politician you like—or dislike—this is not the contest for you.

While I don’t do much decorating myself, I love houses that are slathered with lights. And all the better if they have light-up-in-the-dark inflatable figures. In fact, I think the person who invented those things should get a MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant. As the architect Robert Venturi once said, “Less is a bore”.

Not to worry, all of you with good taste, the traditional look with natural materials and so on – popularized by Colonial Williamsburg – remains popular. I was in Williamsburg at Christmastime a few years ago and their decorations are really are cool, if not authentically colonial. Would George Washington have preferred an inflatable Snoopy delivering packages with Woodstock instead of a wreath of magnolia leaves? We’ll never know.

Whatever direction your holiday directions take you, enter the contest. It’ll be lots of fun.

Full details of the event can be found here.

I look forward to seeing your entries!

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