My Christmas Lights for 2021
Since moving into my home in 2018, for the benefit of the kids in the area, I’ve decorated my front yard with Christmas inflatables and lights. As I have a disability and use a wheelchair, and like to be as independent as possible, I wanted to install the entire 2021 Christmas display without assistance. This blog shares my experience and I hope that other people in wheelchairs can do it too. My powerchair is a Permobil M3 with the ability to raise the height of my seating position, which helped with the taller inflatables.
In 2018 the Christmas display consisted solely of the big reindeer, tied to a timber palette, with no front garden or fence. Since then I have added a big and little Santa, 2 reindeers, a kangaroo, an ice person, Santa having fun in a pool with friends, Santa going up and down a chimney. The lights include icicles on the front fence, Santa being pulled by four reindeer, a tree and two kangaroos.
The list of materials used
My list of materials included a ball of a pickup and reaching tool, string, scissors, cable ties, shopping bags, potting mixture, empty plastic pots, 2 tomato stakes, 2 medium plastic boxes with lids, 2 x 4 power outlet boards, 2 extension power cables, 2 wifi power points and a few doormats.
Securing the inflatables and Santa’s sleigh
The inflatables need to be secured as the wind can blow them away. As all inflatables are to be placed on concrete, I couldn’t simply hit the supplied plastic stakes into the ground. Instead, I placed the potting mix into a shopping bag and tied a knot to prevent the soil from spilling out. This bag was then placed inside two other shopping bags, and the string is passed through the handles and attached to the inflatables. It doesn’t look good during the day, but at night the bags are harder to see, and I only used three of them.
Santa and the four reindeer were likely to be pushed over by the wind, and I placed the five stands into a plastic pot, weighed down by a shopping bag filled with the potting mix. All of the other secure points were handled by attaching string between the inflatables and my home – the fence, drainpipes and plastic stakes into two large pot plants.
I planned to only operate the Christmas display between the hours of 5:30 pm and 10:30 pm and wanted the inflatables and lights to turn on and off automatically. A few of the inflatables had trouble with their orientation after turning the power on, and I installed a few extra strings. Santa was no longer inflating sideways with a string around the top of a drainpipe that kept his back in place.
Installing the icicles on the front fence, and helping kangaroos
I used black cable ties to secure the icicle lights to the front fence and attached a screwdriver to the end that attached to power. I threw the screwdriver over the front fence and towards to power points and used the pick up and reaching tool to pull the power cord out of the front garden.
Powering the display and safety
I have two outdoor AC powerpoints on the wall and attached a four outlet powerboard that sits in a plastic box, and an extension lead that connects to a similar powerboard in another box. As the lids are clamped down and the boxes are undercover, they prevent water from mixing with the powerboards and the items that are plugged in.
As I love home automation, I placed a wifi power point into each box and installed an iPhone app that allows the Christmas display to be manually or automatically turned on.
I covered power cables with doormats, to prevent anyone tripping, or my wheelchair from moving them.
Planning for 2022
I’ve already purchased additional inflatables during post-Christmas sales, for the 2022 Christmas display. They include a big Christmas tree, a 3-metre Santa, a nativity scene including Jesus, Mary, Joseph and three wise men, and a 6-foot snow people family. I am determined to install them without any help, but will I be able to find the space in my front yard?
Click here for information about the blog WheelchairJohn.
More information about me is found at johnduthie.com
If you use a wheelchair for mobility, I’d love to hear about your Christmas displays. Email me here.