I Saw The Lights: A Belated Christmas Story

Colors. Patterns. I love ’em. Which is why I’ve spent much time over the years in museums and art galleries. And gazing at fireworks displays and at sunsets. Another example of epic and colorful exhibitions in which I’ve immersed myself takes place each year in neighborhoods throughout much of the Christian world. I’m talking about the Christmas lights that untold millions drape on the exteriors of their houses and on their greenery. For most of these millions, yuletide is the one time annually when their inner artists emerge, the one time when they express their creative bents in a big way. As an art admirer I appreciate the hard work that they put forth. And I consider many of their efforts to be at a high aesthetic level. Christmas lights displays, when done right, are gorgeous and admirable and, to me, no different really than so-called fine art.

For many years my wife Sandy and I went out four or more nights each Christmas season to look at the lights. We’d drive through our neighborhood and through many others in Philadelphia and the burbs. My father lived with us for the last six years of his life and he’d often accompany us on these excursions. He loved looking at the lights as much as we did. Slowly we’d proceed along blocks, saying “look at that house” over and over as we made our way. We’d often pull to the curb and stop in front of particularly well-conceived arrangements. Some of those were elegant in white only. Others were complicated and ablaze with color. And we’d always spend a long time ogling the mind-blowing and whacky assemblages of lights, kinetic whatnots and inflatable objects that covered every square inch, including roofs, of a few folks’ houses and grounds. Not every neighborhood has one of those. They sometimes become tourist draws, not a good thing if you’re the next-door neighbor.

During the last few years Sandy and I haven’t explored the lights as much as we used to. Not sure why. Up until Christmas week itself this year, we hadn’t at all. But you know, I got the itch at 5 PM a few days before Christmas. I placed my newly acquired smart phone in my pocket and did something I’d never done before. Namely, look at the lights not through a car window but on foot. Sandy decided to stay home. Her loss.

It was neat-o walking around my suburban neighborhood at night. That’s something I rarely do. Funny thing . . . people and houses don’t disappear after the sky turns black. I passed a couple of joggers, a couple of walkers and a couple more walkers holding leashes. Dogs were attached to the leashes. I saw kids running around their houses, people pulling into and out of their driveways. Wow, I’ve got to get outside more. Life’s a-buzzing aplenty.

And I also saw the lights. My neighborhood largely consists of modest wood-shingled and brick houses, nine or so on each side of each block and spaced about 15 feet apart. In other words, the blocks have a tidy layout and are crowded with homes, conditions that are ripe for a mighty fine dose of Christmas lights. Assuming, of course, that plenty of the houses are occupied by Christians who don’t mind climbing ladders and who have a sense for colors and patterns that work well together. Happily, all of this was the case. Many of the homeowners in my community did a lovely job decorating their properties. I walked for blocks and blocks and had a good ol’ time taking in beauty and snapping photos with my phone. This non-Christian thanks those homeowners for bestowing such presents upon him. Here are some examples of their artistic work. Before I forget though, let me mention two things. First, a larger image will open if you click on any photo. Second, please don’t be shy about sharing this article (sharing buttons are below the photographs).

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10 thoughts on “I Saw The Lights: A Belated Christmas Story

  1. Joyce Hamilton December 30, 2015 / 8:38 am

    Glad you enjoyed the Christmas decorations!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. nissetje December 30, 2015 / 9:15 am

    How lovely that you took it in on foot! (That’s another gift I get from having dogs; “on foot” is how we do it.)

    Great pictures. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • yeahanotherblogger December 30, 2015 / 2:42 pm

      Yes, looking at the lights on foot definitely added to the experience.

      Thanks for reading the article. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Gloria Scheinin December 30, 2015 / 10:36 pm

    i loved looking at your photos. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Aunt Beulah December 30, 2015 / 10:50 pm

    What a grand walk! My husband and I often walk around our small town after dark. It’s completely different with lighted windows giving a glimpse of the life inside, folks on porches say hello, and other walker greeting us. It’s nice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yeahanotherblogger December 31, 2015 / 7:39 am

      You and your husband have the right idea, Janet. Walking around a neighborhood, day or night, makes a person feel more a part of the community.

      Like

  5. tengel265 January 1, 2016 / 10:26 am

    I am the only person on my (short) street to hang exterior lights at Christmas, but I love doing it. It’s a good excuse to get outside, and though I stick to a simple outline of the house, I never fail to feel a sense of satisfaction when I arrive home at night. My teenage daughters still love the effort and make a point of asking me to walk out with them to see the final product and take the obligatory selfie. We also go out on Xmas eve to look at the lights on the local college campus, which goes all out. I agree that walking in crisp air enhances the experience. Thanks for a thoughtful post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yeahanotherblogger January 1, 2016 / 4:03 pm

      And within the next week or two all of the Christmas lights will be taken down and stored away. Which gives us something to look forward to in the upcoming December.

      Like

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