Tacky or fun? Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford's verdict on outdoor Christmas lights

They were in two minds on the This Morning sofa

Outdoor lights, tacky or fun? Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford debate outdoor Christmas lights from the This Morning sofa. Where do you stand?

It's a particularly hot topic this week, as Ruth rightly points out Christmas is only 18 days away. 'Have you done your decorations yet?' she asks. 'Do you decorate outside the house, as well as inside? Because there's a man in Somerset and he really embraces the festive spirit. He has put up over £220 worth of lights and inflatable Santas'

But not everybody likes the outdoor decorations of said house. It turns out the neighbours are less pleased.  After only a few days of being up the homeowners received a letter 'through the post from the neighbours complaining,' explains Ruth. 'They said it's tacky'.

Eamonn jests, 'Were you that neighbour,  because that's one of your famous words'. Ruth responds, laughing  it off saying, 'I do say that to you, when you bring home another light-up snowman'

Related: Christmas hallway decorating ideas to impress your guests 

Outdoor lights and decorations, tacky or fun?

room with exposed brick wall and christmas decorating lights

(Image credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Archive/PA Images)

One house that is truly in favour of outdoor decorations is the family home of Michael Farnes in Hove. Notorious for their love of outdoor decorations, the house is dressed to the MAX every year. With everything from inflatable Santas and snowmen to flashing lights, the house is covered.

This Morning reports live to the house, opening the debate. Eamonn starts by saying, 'The first thing I want to say is congratulations, it’s beautiful. Well done.’ It seems he and Ruth are humorously sitting on different sides of the fence on this one.

'My goodness, when do you first start putting that lot up?' asks a stunned Ruth. The second week of October is Michael's response – he's clearly an early adopter of Christmas cheer.

Michael says he doesn't get any complaints from his neighbours. 'I've comprised. The lights go off at 9pm,' he explains.

That's perhaps the best way to keep it amicable, if you do wish to adorn your house with lights like that of the 'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation' house. 

santa frame statue with christmas decorating lights

(Image credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Archive/PA Images)

Ruth asks, 'Michael, when did you first starting doing this?' Michael responds by saying, ' I stared about 20 years ago but it was a bit smaller 20 years ago. We tend to put more out each year because we get such a good vibe from everyone that we’re cheering up everybody.' More? What does Christmas 2020 have in store?

The loveable presenting duo were joined by special guest Grant Harrold, former Royal Butler, etiquette expert and broadcaster. He unsurprisingly thinks that it’s tacky.

‘We’re just going to pour a bucket of slush over everything now,’ Eamonn jokes, as they invite Grant to give his opinion on the decorations.

'It’s interesting' says Grant as Eamonn asks, 'would you not like to live in that street?' The answer of course is no.  'What is that offends you about it?' Ruth ask.

'I love that word tacky,' Grant responds, going on to say. 'I think one or two trees is ok. Nothing too over the top'.

Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford's different Christmas styles

Eamonn tells how he and Ruth have separate rooms with separate trees, to accommodate their different decorating tastes. Ruth explains why, 'he has everything on there (his own tree), coloured lights, flashing lights. He's got a light-up snowman. I just don't go in his room.'

Grant politely sides with Ruth, saying he likes to keep decorations dignified and simple.

In contrast to Eamonn, whose top decorating tip is 'lots of coloured lights. Blue green and red'.

christmas lights with santa and rein deer with twinkly lights

(Image credit: Getty Images/Diane Macdonald / Contributor)

When asked how he'd approach a neighbour like Michael Grant points out that a letter is perhaps not the best approach.

Suggesting instead, 'I would possibly go and have a cup of tea and a discussion about it, in a dignified manner.' To cries of ‘Humbug' from a teasing Eamonn.

Reporting back to the house in Hove Eamonn asks on a practical note, 'Michael, where on earth do you store them my friend, when they come down?'

Michael explains it takes six hours to take them all down and they are stored in three sheds!

Related: Best Christmas lights to make your home shine bright throughout festivities

'I’m just glad I don’t have to take those all down,' exclaims Grant.

Where do you stand on the outdoor light debate? Tacky or tremendous fun?


Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.