My love, hate relationship with Christmas lights took a turn this Christmas season, and I think it's for the better. This year, someone else put the lights up and the results are pretty spectacular.

I've always liked a professional clean line of lights on the roof. But, since I'm not a fan of ladders, once I get started hanging lights, my 'good enough' button gets buzzed pretty quickly. When I'm 10-13 feet in the air, my world of perfection turns into a world of survival and 'just get it done quickly!'

My first experience with Christmas lights was a cold morning out in the garage when I was sent out to help Dad put up lights. I think he enjoyed doing it the first few years. We had a pretty cool Nativity Scene that we kept housed in the barn throughout the year. The lights were the customary snarl of frustration that would be hung up in the garage, probably in April or May.

I remember Dad replacing bulbs and stringing the lights. I also remember Mom coming out to make sure things were hung correctly. One year, in particular, I remember Mom and Dad winning some Town and Country Christmas Light contest. I know they were proud of that and rightfully so, it was pretty impressive. Their appreciation of lights well done rubbed off. I guess.

Fast forward through apartment living and on to homeownership. For years, you think, this isn't so bad. It's like mowing the lawn the first 3 to 4 times a year. Then it gets frustrating. Portions of the string of Holiday Spirit go out and fingers start getting pointed. You might say I had come to the end of my ladder for putting up my own lights.

Last year, my wife and I took my Mother on a Christmas Light looking trip that would turn out to be her last. Part of the trip took us to more affluent parts of Sioux Falls than where we live. You know, the part of town where people pay to have lights put up. Mom mentioned that it might be a good idea to have lights put up professionally. I quietly agreed.

Fast forward to this past summer. Our son Tad has spent time working with Nate Weberg who owns, you guessed it a Christmas Light Company. Tad said, hey, I'm going to put your lights up, as a gift to you this Christmas. I was skeptical, but they showed up the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and put them up. Customized, balanced LED, and STRAIGHT!

To those who hang,

to those who don't hang at all;

and to those who prefer others

to do the hanging, Merry Christmas!

JD Collins via Sprint Sioux Falls
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