Outdoor holiday lights create a festive feel, but animated Christmas decorations can add a magical boost to your display. Here’s how.
Two Types of Animated Christmas Decorations
Lighted outdoor decorations can be animated in two ways. In one type, lights on a sequential string or circuit flash in a pattern that gives the appearance of Santa waving, reindeer legs running or train wheels turning. The second type of animated Christmas decoration is an animatronic figure in which the frame itself is motorized and moves. With this type, Santa’s arm really is waving.
Animated Christmas decorations range in price from under $100 to more than $1,000, depending on the size of the display. Specialty stores market a wide variety of fun animated light displays online, as does Amazon. Check specialty Christmas stores in your area as well.
Putting on a Holiday Show
If you want to put on a truly dazzling show, invest in the equipment to set your animated decorations to music. Electronic controllers hold several Christmas songs and flash parts of your lights in a choreographed display. There are units that control animated lights and separate ones that control animatronic figures. Some controllers make use of an app you can control from your phone.
If you’re considering setting your animated Christmas decorations to music, think first of your neighbors so you don’t generate more humbug than happiness. Even joyful holiday music can get old if it’s blasting from a speaker. You can avoid this problem by choosing control devices that allow you to broadcast the music on a limited-range FM signal that drivers passing by can tune to it in their cars.
Storing animated decorations can be a challenge. They don’t fit into the boxes you may typically use to store other Christmas decorations in a basement or attic. To protect these figures from dust and moisture, wrap them in paper or a heavy plastic drop cloth. The electronic controller units for computer-choreographed lights should be stored in water-resistant plastic tubs and kept in a part of the house that will not encounter extreme temperatures, particularly summer heat.