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Ted Adelman’s name may not mean much to people who live outside the Washington, DC area but to the locals he produced Christmas magic. Yesterday I learned that he had died just a few weeks ago. In a way it’s fitting that his family waited until another major holiday weekend (Fourth of July) to announce his death because Ted Adelman celebrated Christmas in a really big way. Boy, did he ever celebrate that holiday! Each December his home would look like this.

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You can see more photos I took of that house in my blog posts that I wrote in 2012 and 2014.

I also shot a video in 2010 of both that house and another home located across the street that was also decorating in a big way. That video shows how the house had Christmas lights that flashed in synchronicity to cheerful Christmas music that was piped outside.

That tradition abruptly ended last December when the family decided not to decorate their home for the holidays. It was when NBC4 investigated and learned the reason why: Ted Adelman had been battling cancer and he simply didn’t feel up to it. His neighbors decided to organize a group of Christmas carolers that came over to his home on Christmas night singing Christmas carols as a way of thanking him for all the years that he brought cheer to neighbors and strangers alike.

As of this writing it’s not known whether his family plans to continue with this tradition or not and we probably won’t know until December. If there’s a Heaven, I can imagine Ted Adelman trying to overdecorate it at Christmas so much that even Jesus will tell him “You don’t have to do this for me. Really. Oh, well, I’m very flattered that you care this much about me.”

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Yesterday I received a message from NBC4 in Washington, DC asking for permission to use footage from a video that I shot and uploaded six years ago. I was surprised and flattered that a local television news station wanted to use something that I shot a long time ago.

I gave my consent but the station didn’t use my video. (I think I may have given my consent past the station’s deadline.) I found out that there was a sad reason why NBC4 was so interested in my six-year-old video.

There was a house in Lanham, Maryland that had become well-known for putting up a lot of Christmas decorations and the family had been doing this for years. In 2010 I shot footage of not only that house but another house located across the street that was also heavily decorated (except that second house focused more on inflatable decorations). Not long after shooting that video, I wrote my very first blog post about that house. The following year my husband and I spent a portion of our last Christmas together checking out that house right on Christmas Day itself after sunset. (Three days later he would abruptly leave me for that seriously mentally ill friend of ours and he married her just two months after our divorce was final.) I wrote more about that house and I included still photos as well back in 2012. Two years later I wrote about the same house except I also included photographs of what that house looked like in the daytime as well.

This year the owners decided not to put up their over-the-top Christmas display. As NBC4 reported, it’s because one of the owners, Ted Adelman, was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year and he didn’t feel healthy enough to go through the time and effort required to put on the annual Christmas display. Adelman assured everyone that the Christmas lights will return in 2017.

I can understand why he and his wife decided not to do the decorations but I’m still sad nonetheless. I hope Ted Adelman is able to recover enough from his cancer so he can continue to totally deck his home for many Christmases to come.

In the meantime, for anyone who’s missing the Adelmans’ annual Christmas display or for those wondering what the fuss is about, here is my original video that I shot in 2010 (which includes footage of the neighbor across the street with the giant inflatable Christmas decorations on the front lawn).

UPDATE (July 5, 2017): Ted Adelman has died.

I recently took part in the yard sale which was organized by Changing Focus, whose support group meetings I have been attending since the early days after my husband abruptly walked out on me. I managed to get rid of some more unwanted clutter around my home and I managed to have fun hawking some wares to the general public. I stopped by the Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church to drop off my stuff the day before the yard sale and I took a couple of photos.

The crucifix in the next photo is one that I’ve owned since I was around 7 or 8 and I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church. (I think it may have been a First Communion present but I don’t remember for sure.) The cross is made from a very light wood (the crucifix is literally light as a feather) and the rest of the parts are made from plastic. My parents sent it to me along with other items from my old bedroom after I got married and moved in with my husband but I never hung it up on the wall like I did in my parents’ home. By that point my husband and I started attending a Unitarian Universalist church and that faith places less emphasis on crosses and crucifixes. In addition, my husband was never really crazy about crucifixes and I didn’t want to hang it up in our bedroom out of respect to him. Yet I somehow couldn’t bear to let it go so I put it in storage for a number of years. With my husband being gone and with leaving my Roman Catholic past very far behind me, I finally decided to let it go to a new home. That crucifix was sold so I’m hoping that the new owners enjoy it.

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The next photo shows the remnants of my ex-husband’s old comic book collection that he never picked up. I used some of the issues to make my comic book coasters, which I sold at the previous weekend’s Greenbelt Mini Maker Faire. I sold half of the uncut comic books at the same event. All I did was transfer the remainders to a smaller box then donated them.

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As I was leaving the church, I noticed that it was a warm sunny day with the tulips being in full bloom.

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The following day was a different story altogether. The day was very cloudy and it was cold. (I don’t think the temperature ever got beyond 50 degrees Fahrenheit.) At times the weather forecast called for rain but, fortunately, the rain held off until the evening when everything had already closed down hours earlier. Despite the lack of sun and warmth the yard sale was well attended. There were plenty of interesting stuff on sale, such as these three inflatable Christmas lawn decorations. All three of them were sold that day. Someone in the group told me that these decorations, along with other smaller Christmas ornaments and decorations, were donated by a woman who had suddenly become homeless. I don’t know what her story is but it really sounds sad.

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I found this lamp that was so kitschy that, if it weren’t for space issues in my home, I would’ve bought it for myself. On the surface it looks like someone had placed these two stuffed mother and child teddy bears next to the lamp.

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Until you looked on the back and saw that the lamp pole was fitted through a hole on top of the teddy bear’s head.

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What’s more, there was a wind-up mechanism on the back so if you wind it up, it would play music. It’s a lamp! It’s a teddy bear mother and child plushie set! It’s a wind-up music box! It’s all of them! That lamp was definitely a hoot!

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It’s a black cat candy dish. Granted it was made for Halloween but that cat really looks scary as hell and it would definitely induce nightmares.

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I saw a TiVo on sale. I can remember when those things were a big deal years ago. My late mother-in-law and her second husband were given a TiVo by one of his children for Christmas and they used it frequently to record PBS shows and Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show. I don’t really hear much about TiVo anymore so I have no idea if it is even relevant these days or if it’s one of those items that should be in a museum somewhere.

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I saw this really lovely doll and I came close to buying her. But then I found that one of her feet is broken. (You can see it in the photo as one of the feet seems unusually twisted.) I ended up not buying her because she has no joint movements at all. I tried moving her arms and legs but they just would not budge. Plus she was made from porcelain. I once owned a porcelain doll that also had no joint mobility so she just stood there on the shelf for years gathering dust. I grew tired of dusting her so I ultimately gave her to Goodwill, American Rescue Workers, or some similar group.  At one point a man who has repaired dolls in the past was interested in buying her to refurbish her until he got a good look at her foot and he found that the foot was broken into a bunch of pieces and he couldn’t remove her show because it was glued to her foot.

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That doll ultimately ended up in a thrift shop that sent a truck to pick up all of the unsold sale items at the end of the yard sale.

The Changing Focus Yard Sale was held as part of a larger event that’s held in the spring and the fall in Crofton that’s called the Festival on the Green. The yard sale was held on the lawn of the Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church. The church itself was holding its own book sale inside the church where it sold a variety of used books, periodicals, CD’s, DVD’s, and even VHS tapes. I found a section dedicated to Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. For a total of $8 anyone could get all four books in the original Twilight saga, which was a fraction of the cost of just buying the first book in a regular book store or on Amazon.com.

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I also walked over to the craft show that was held on the grounds of the Crofton Country Club. It was a relatively small show but there were a variety of nice items on sale.

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Despite the gloomy cold weather I took a photo of one of the flowering trees that was in full bloom that day.

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Santa Claus

For the first time in two years I decided to check on two houses across the street from each other on Good Luck Road in Lanham, Maryland that always seem to outdo the other houses in their neighborhood. I shot a video featuring those two houses back in 2010.

I went back to the two houses and I took pictures so I could compare them against the last time I took any pictures of them (which was back in 2012). First up is the house that specializes mainly in those giant inflatable balloons on the front lawn. Comparing the photos from this year and 2012, I noticed that an inflatable carousel is missing but, otherwise, the inflatables are up as usual.

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Across the street is the more decorated of the two. Not only is the lawn completely covered with some kind of a decoration but some of the lights blink on and off in synchronization with the beat of the Christmas music that is literally piped outside. (The above video shows that.) I compared this year’s photos with the ones I last took in 2012 and I think that house has gotten more decorations in the two years since.

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While I was taking those photos I noticed that there were plushes on display that I couldn’t capture with my camera because they were simple stuffed dolls with no lights so they were darker than the other outdoor lights. I wanted to see what they looked like so I decided to come back to that same house in broad daylight a couple of days later. I have to admit that even in daytime that house’s decorations make it stand out from the neighbors.

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While the inflatable balloons were deflated during the daytime, I got a really good look at the plushes and I found them to be really cute.

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I also got a better look at some of the outdoor lighted plastic statues shaped like teddy bears, Mickey Mouse, and the figures from the Nativity.

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Santa Claus

Last night, before I got the latest news regarding my mother, I went to this neighborhood located one town away from where I live. There is this one house on the appropriately named Good Luck Road who has been notorious for many years for having a house that’s heavy on the Christmas decorations. Well, not only has this house continued with the hugh amount of decorations, there’s another house located across the street that has the potential to one day match the other house in decorations. (This house hasn’t quite reached the levels of the other house yet but if it continues to add new decorations each year, I’m sure it’ll eventually keep up.) I made a video featuring both of the houses. You have to see it because words alone can’t describe what I saw last night.

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