By SEAN ROWLEY
Driving around Tahlequah in December, it is not difficult to find homes strung with festive lights and decorations to dazzle children and spread cheer during the holiday season.
Dr. Isabel Baker puts up a dazzling display at her home on South College Avenue - or she has someone put it up.
“Mine are done by Robin Budzinsky,” Baker said. “She is very efficient and it only takes her about two hours to get them installed. She climbs the ladders and I’m just amazed. It’s almost scary to watch her.”
Baker said she enjoys the holiday atmosphere created by putting up an elaborate Christmas display.
“I do it for all the kids and grandkids - I have 22 great-grandchildren,” she said.
“I don’t want them to come to a dark, dreary, drab old lady’s house. I don’t want the house to say ‘bah humbug.’ I believe that when you walk into a house that is bright with lights and has music playing, it creates memories.”
There has been lots of decorations outside the Baker house since she moved into it.
“I love Christmas,” she said. “I love to go down the streets and look at the bright lights. I think it is important to make memories during the holidays. When I was a kid, we would go to my grandmother’s and string the tree with lights and popcorn. We would make paper dollies and color them and put them on the tree. Those are wonderful memories that I treasure as an adult.”
If the lights aren’t yet strung, or there are thoughts of putting some up next year, there are some simple pointers to remember when creating an outdoor display.
• It is obvious when looking around Tahlequah that many residents like to leave their lights on overnight, but to reduce energy usage, they should be turned off before going to bed.
• If age or some trick joints won’t allow for clambering around the roof, do like Baker and hire someone to put up the decorations. Keep light cords away from any metal or overhead wires.
• Be creative when setting up lights. Columns, birdbaths, hedges, walkways and driveways can be illuminated.
• Wrap lights around the trunk of a tree in a spiral and work into the branches. If a tree is an evergreen, start at the top and work down. If only one side of a tree can be seen by passersby, decorate only that side and save lights. Attach lights with twist ties or tree clips.
• Use plenty of different colors - or just favorites.
• Put no more than 1,400 watts on a circuit. If house lights dim when the outdoor lights are switched on, a circuit is being strained.
• Always use a sturdy ladder. It is best to have someone hold the ladder steady.
• Don’t attach lights to the house with hooks, staples or nails. Use electrical tape or clips.
• Test lights and replace burned out bulbs.
• Decide which lights to use - flashing, large, small - and only use UL labeled lights. Make sure all outdoor decorations use lights intended for outdoor use.
• If just starting an outdoor display, don’t break the bank. Buy two or three decorations and add to them each year.