There is something utterly magical about holiday lights. The ones orchestrated and professionally organized at businesses and parks are beautiful, but it is the do it yourselfer’s who seem to capture my heart with their charm and whimsey.
As a child, I remember mom and dad loading us up in the station wagon and then driving into town to see all the lights. We would cruise through neighborhoods slowly, admiring the exotic and extravagant displays. Mainly, they were windows, doors and rooflines outlined in red, green or blue lights.
Occasionally, you would see a decorated tree, but, not very often. These strings of light had bulbs about the length of your thumb and would fry the skin on any appendage unfortunate to make contact with its overheated surface. We would “ooh” and “aah” over the Christmas trees we could see through the windows, colorful ornaments, tinsel and lights prominently displayed.
Afterwards, we go home and declare our modest tree as the prettiest of all. My brother and I would then settle in for an evening of getting on each other’s last nerve.
Years later, when I bought my own house, I would see mom and dad’s house on the way home. A single candle alight in each window, and the tree visible through the windows in the back room. Beautiful in its simplicity and warmly saying, “welcome home.”
Our boy, Sparky, loves seeing the holiday lights. I have taken to driving different routes home so he can enjoy the displays. They are more elaborate than what we were used to. Chasing, synchronized displays in every color. Inflatable displays which wave their arms and play music. Trees no longer have lights that merely twinkle, they have decorations that look like icicles cascading in shades of red or blue. They are beautiful and mesmerizing. He is especially partial to the boisterous displays of brilliant reds, blues and greens. Of course, he is equally excited to see the red lights on the planes flying overhead.
We do not have flashy displays of lights at our house, nor do we have any inflatables. We figured if the dog did not savage it as an intruder, then the wind would send it scuttling across the cornfield in the middle of the night. Sparky would be traumatized by either scenario. We have a tiny tabletop tree decorated with dinosaurs (of course), and a larger tree that simply has lights on it. Nothing fancy, but their lights make for a pleasing and peaceful display — if you don’t notice the one tree has marauding tyrannosaurs on it. Next year, we will try putting non-breakable and non-reptilian decorations on the bigger tree.
I hope you too get the opportunity to enjoy the light displays that are abundant this time of year. I also hope you have the ability to see their beauty as though experiencing them through the eyes of an enchanted and delighted three-year-old. After all, they bring the magic of Christmas to all of us.
Written and submitted by Sarah Roush for The Circleville Herald. The views of this column may not necessarily reflect that of the newspaper.