This is date number six in our 12 Dates of Christmas series. Everybody has that thing that makes it “feel” like Christmas, whether it be Christmas goodies, Christmas movies, or being around friends and family. For us that thing is taking a drive around town and looking at all the houses decorated with lights for the holidays. This year we did it a little earlier than usual, but it might be worth doing twice.
Going for a drive to see Christmas lights was one of my favourite things to do when I was a kid. There was a subdivision the next community over from ours that used to have a Christmas lights competition that never let us down. We would all pile in the car and judge the houses and my dad would patiently drive as we screamed at him to slow down for certain houses.
There was one house in particular in Fall River that we always used to go to that was elaborately decorated with various cartoon characters and mountains of sparking lights. You could get out of your car and go into the “gingerbread house” (shed) to sign the guest book. Brad’s family used to take him there as well so we may very well have brushed shoulders as kids as we gazed upon the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Mickey Mouse displays.
So far this year I have yet to be really impressed by anyone’s Christmas lights. In fact, I’m a little disappointed. I don’t think the problem is in the neighbourhoods we’ve picked or the time of night we go. I think the disappointment lies in the lights themselves. I think the switch over to LED Christmas lights is more pronounced now and there’s no ignoring the hideous blue glow anymore.
I get that LED lights burn less electricity and they’ll somehow stop the ocean waters from rising, but couldn’t the global warming geniuses have come up with something that has a bit of a warmer glow? There, I said it. Call me environmentally irresponsible, but I will never own or adorn anything with LED Christmas lights. If the dim bluish glow isn’t enough to whip you into a depression, the manner in which they bug your eyes out surely will.
That being said, there are a few homes that still hang the so called “old fashioned” lights up and even though half the paint is chipping off the lights they’re still my favourite houses to visit.
Even though the lighting fashions have changed, I still enjoy grabbing a cup of hot cocoa (the peppermint hot chocolate with whipped topping from Second Cup is the best!), putting on some Christmas tunes in the car and driving lazily around town to see the sparkling lights.
A few years ago my family and I went to Florida for Christmas. We all had visions of basking in the hot sun on Christmas day while all our friends and relatives froze back home. Instead we got rain, rain, and more rain. We made the best of it though and it is now a Christmas I will never forget.
One of the best memories of that trip was from Christmas Eve. Our tradition when we’re home is to jump in the car on Christmas Eve and go look at all the homes that have been decorated. It’s sort of like the final thing that makes it “feel” like Christmas. We didn’t want to lose the tradition just because we were in Florida that year, so we jumped in the car and drove around looking at Christmas lights. We were staying at my grandmother’s place where there are a lot of seniors in the area. Let’s just say they put us Canadians to shame when it comes to lights. They go all out.
We actually tried this date twice since the first time didn’t really work out. We thought it would be fun to drive to a really nice part of town where all the super rich people live. My assumption was since they have all kinds of money, they would go all out with the festive decorations. Not so my friends, not so. Maybe in these tough economic times they thought they would be rubbing their wealth in the faces of the rest of us if they got carried away, I don’t know. If that is the reason, I think it’s a poor one since their huge mansions do a nice enough job of exhibiting their wealth. Regardless, there was hardly a light to be seen.
Our second attempt was a little closer to home and it was much nicer. It’s fun to see the new trends every year that people try out. A few years ago everybody bought those reindeer made of lights, and another year it was the icicle lights hanging from every surface on the houses. This year it seemed like a lot of people used the same company, Christmas Decor, where you buy the decorations and you pay them to do all the work. It’s easy to tell which houses used them because the roof lines were all perfectly outlined in white lights.
Although it wasn’t Christmas Eve, I still had a lot of fun looking at Christmas lights this year. I actually saw a neighborhood I had no idea existed, even though I lived five minutes away for most of my life. It’s a great way to explore the town you live in, get in the Christmas spirit, and spend time with someone you love. Truth be told, we enjoy it so much we’ll probably do it again on Christmas Eve.