Santa’s Riding An Elephant In My Yard! (My Favorite Lawn Decor)

There are several houses in our area that go all out for Christmas. One of my favorites is a couple of miles away, and the gentleman who lives there dresses up as Santa at night, standing out by the road to take donations for St. Jude Children’s Hospital, one of my favorite causes. And the lights! Wow! It’s insane! (That’s the house in the picture above.) When our daughter was little, we told her it was Santa’s second home, where he goes to prepare for Christmas, because she couldn’t understand why he was standing outside a house in Charlotte. See bottom of page for a list of several places to see great light displays in the Charlotte area. 

When I was growing up, my parents would decorate our lawn for Christmas. My favorite decorations were those 40″ Noel Candles everyone had in the 70s. I have some now. I haven’t put them out this year, but there’s still time. Maybe tomorrow. I was absolutely fascinated with them when I was a little girl.


My daughter and a neighbor’s daughter, several years ago, with the Noel candles.

I also remember my parents putting blue lights on the shrubs across the front of the house. The big blue bulbs that would steam a little when rain hit them. That’s because bulbs got hot back then.

As an adult, I still love lawn decor, but sometimes, like this year, I’m slow getting it out. I found the multicolor bulbs today, but it was already getting dark, so I’ll likely put them on the shrubs out front tomorrow. And yes, I said “shrubs,” not “trees.” I’ve never been one to do lawn decor that’s up too high. I don’t want to drag out a ladder. Maybe I’m lazy. Or maybe I’m smart, since this year, my vertigo seems to be in high gear. It flares up every now and then, and it only bothers me when I look up or lean my head back, so climbing ladders to hang stuff up high isn’t a good idea.

I’ve mentioned before that I have lighted animals I put out front every year. One friend who lives down the street looks forward to seeing our Christmas pig. We usually have a fox too, but this year, I let him stay inside. I put out a small lighted elephant and a couple of small lighted cardinals instead. Quite a menagerie. And my leg lamp…the one from the movie, A Christmas Story, is always in the front dining room window. A mom came to pick up her daughter at our house yesterday and said, “That’s an interesting lamp.” I laughed. “I’m guessing you haven’t seen the movie?” She had no idea what I was talking about. I explained, but I think she still thought I was crazy. Maybe she’s right?

But here’s what I’m excited about this year: when I was in the attic yesterday looking for some wrapping paper, I came across something I ordered a few years ago ( at an after Christmas sale) and never opened. In it? A giant inflatable elephant carrying Santa and some presents!

I carried that box out to the front yard and got that inflatable elephant anchored down and inflated in record time! He is glorious! Did I mention the thing is over 10 feet tall? It makes me happy.

Anyone who knows me knows I went to The University of Alabama, so of course, I’m a Crimson Tide fan…the elephant is perfect for my yard. My husband gets back home today after a few days away. Surprise, honey!


It’s tacky. And I love it. The neighbors probably hate me. My husband might hate me too; tacky decorations are not his favorite thing. Oh well, at least I waited till well after Thanksgiving to put it up! Frankly, I hope it will last till Christmas. The last time I put up a giant inflatable pig, my next door neighbor called to inform me it had blown into her yard!

A friend who lives in the neighborhood has an inflatable Airstream in her front yard, and it makes me happy every time I see it. If I get a call, I’m going to say she set the precedent. There’s just something about outdoor holiday decor that’s fun, and for me…the tackier, the better.

So, it’s tacky Christmas decor at my house. I like it. I think it’s a lot more fun than perfect, little twinkling lights spaced perfectly on every tree and shrub. Those are beautiful, but this is fun! And one thing’s for sure… everybody can look at it and know we did it ourselves. Nope…not gonna hire someone to make my yard look perfect. Anyone can do that. Not just everyone can kneel in wet grass for 20 minutes while untangling tether lines for a giant inflatable elephant.

I think Santa likes it too.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

***The photo at the top of the page is a house on Sherwood Forest Drive in South Charlotte, off Colony Road. Drive toward that road at night, and just follow all the cars turning into the road. The neighbors’ houses have lots of lights too.***

***The town of McAdenville, just off Interstate 85, south of Charlotte, is a former mill town, and the whole village participates. It’s free! Traffic is heavy, so plan to be in line for a while, and don’t drink a lot of liquids beforehand.***

***Hillside Avenue in Myers Park has beautiful outdoor decor. Just drive down the street at night and see how the neighborhood comes together to decorate. Beautiful!***

***Another popular decor area is Thomas Avenue in Plaza Midwood. ***

Other great places to see lots of Christmas lights: Carowinds’ Winterfest, Billy Graham Library, Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, and Charlotte Motorspeedway. 


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