Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Lights

I was listening to the radio at work yesterday and there were several public service announcements touting different holiday light displays for people to see, which are all over town. This reminded me of Christmas light stories in the past. Yeah, it seems like have a story for everything when it comes to Christmas but I just LOVE Christmas. It is my favorite time of year.

When I was little, my family lived in a house that was 3 blocks from the courthouse. Our town's courthouse is on top of a hill and then downtown sort of lays at the foot of the hill and the courthouse stands over and guards it. Anyway, my hometown always puts lights on the top of the courthouse and turns them on the Friday night after Thanksgiving. So my parents would bundle up my brother and me and, if there were snow on the ground, stick us in a sled and pull us down to the courthouse. Then the four of us would stand on the sidewalk and wait for the lights to come on. It was like magic. No one else ever was around- cars would drive by but no one else ever stood out on the sidewalk and watched. We would "ooh" and "ahh" and clap and squeal when the lights came on. Then we would walk the 3 blocks back home, singing Christmas carols. When we got home, mom always made hot chocolate.

We always drove around and looked at lights, too. I remember that we would always be getting ready for bed and in footie pajamas and we would think we were going to bed and instead we would pile in the car, drive around Civilization and look at lights and there was always more "ooh-ing" and "ahh-ing" and clapping and squealing. We always found the houses that were our favorites and we drove past those many times during the season, and always went back year after year to see if they were the same.

Then my hometown started thinking and for a few years, the town council found out they could make it a town event- the lighting of the courthouse. The downtown businesses stayed open late and local choirs strolled around as carolers. The mayor did a proclamation, lots of folks gathered and sang carols. Hot chocolate was sold by local churches. Santa arrived on one of the local fire trucks. Candles were lit, prayers were said and then the lights on the courthouse came to life as do all the lights that decorate the downtown. It was no longer just me, my Bro, and folks standing on the sidewalk, waiting for the magic moment, but most of the town.

The parks department in Southern Civilization also does a "Walk Way of Holiday Lights" display. They set up huge holiday lights of all shapes and sizes. They move and sing. They are in all colors, shapes and sizes. Visitors may walk or drive a route to see all the different displays. The local radio station plays Christmas music the entire time. It stretches for several miles. Even as adults, we always piled in with my parents, in their van, with Mac and SisIL in tow, as well, and we drove over to see that display every year. We'd sing carols, laugh and have a good time. When we get back to home, we'd drive around and look at local lights, just like when we were little kids, sans pj's.

With Bro & SisIL having two babies and no more van, it's hard to all pile in to see the park display. The town council gave up the lighting ceremony. It's not even publicized when the lights will be turned on anymore; they just suddenly are. Times change and things change, but the good memories still linger on.

I think this year I'll grab Daddy-O, Mac and Princess and we can all see the park display, and then hit the Starbucks for hot chocolate on the way home. Start a new tradition.

Happy Holidays,


Curley said...

We went through downtown the other night after the lights were turned on and the new decorations down there are really pretty. I remember going to the lighting ceremony one time. It was fun but too cold for me.

Maggie said...

Curly- aren't they pretty? I don't remember it being cold when I was cold, though. LOL!