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Monday, December 7, 2009

Where Have all the Christmas Lights Gone?

My parents started a tradition when we were children. Every year on Christmas Eve, we would drive around the city looking at lights. This was such a festive time for us. We drove through neighborhood after neighborhood, singing Christmas songs. My favorite were the nativity scenes. I loved counting them, and finding the most original.

Even now, thinking of these drives, I feel that swelling nostalgic feeling in my heart. And it wasn't just our family. We'd creep along the street, driving 20 mph, behind a long line of cars doing the same thing.

This is a tradition I want to continue with my children. But we are having a hard time finding neighborhoods that are lit up. Every night I take them down a different street, trying to find houses that we'll be able to add to our Christmas Eve route. Most streets have one or two decorated houses. Some have none. The most I've found is five on one street. It breaks my heart. Where is the festivity?

Let me point out right now, before you ask, that my house is not lit up. But it's not for lack of want. I bought the lights. For the past two years I've gone out and strung lights around the mailbox. I'm too chicken to climb on the roof. This year, my dear husband promised he'd put the lights on. But I can't blame him for not doing it--between two jobs and the Army Reserve, when he's home, the only thing on his mind is sleep. Not spelunking.

Are we too busy for lights? Too chicken? (Those are my excuses, after all.)

What's it like where you live? Are the lights out? Is your house lit up? Maybe we'll drive out your direction.

18 comments:

blueviolet said...

I have some lights up but I don't overdo because it's expensive to be all lit up! I wonder if that's part of why people have toned it down.

Sara ♥ said...

Our house isn't lit :( Every year I say we're going to and then I never do. BUT this year I did put out other decorations - so perhaps next year is the year?

Because, like you, one of my FAVORITE things growing up was going out and looking at all the lights. My sisters and I used to have HUGE counting contests to see who spotted more.

On a side note, I now have Paula Cole's "Where Have All The Cowboys Gone" stuck in my head, LOL. I haven't heard that song in years! Maybe it disappeared to where ever the lights have gone? ;-)

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

LOL, Sara. Using that song for my title was purely intentional.

Jannie said...

Uhhh. we have lights up, but they have blown two fuses (oopps!) so they are currently not lit :) We got them for free on craigslist and realize why they must have been for free :)Have you already sent out all your christmas cards? I'm sure you have...I've been out of town and horrible at returning emails...I'll email you my address, but I realize I'm probably too late!

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

are you kidding??? I'm still addressing envelopes! The power cord to my computer arrived today, so now I can print the cards.

Aaron and Emily said...

I like to decorate the window. I just string lights around the outside. That way you can see lights from the inside AND the outside of the house, without climbing a ladder or being outside.

We did the stairs this year because our window was so big. LIghts ribbons etc. all around. And of course you saw our tree on our blog.

LMJ said...

I have my two bushes covered with lights as well as my garage door and front door rims covered in lights. I also have a wreath on the front door.
But that's it. I imagine the economy is to blame for the lack of lights on people's homes. My neighborhood is boring. We are one of the few that have lights out.

In their defense, we have a lot of neighbors that are Jewish and Muslim.

Melanie J said...

I found the lights in our town by checking the local paper online. Maybe that would work for you, too.

Amber said...

I agree. I loved that tradition! there's a few houses when I drive around that have them. Not near what it used to be when we were little though. Poor Hubby..so tired! He works hard.

Ralene said...

If I could kick my husband's rear in gear, we'd be one of those crazy houses that's totally overdone. Yeah...really. But, as of right now, there is absolutely nothing outside. As for the neighbors, well, we live on a mililtary post that actually discourages too many lights. Grrr.. going green and all. They actually have a contest for the best display with minimal lights. Phooey on them!

arlee bird said...

No lights on our house, just a simple wreath on the door. Haven't seen as many lights as in the past, but there are still quite a few. Then again I rarely go out at night so I really couldn't say for sure how things are overall in my area.
The Korean family that lives across the street from me have decorated beautifully so I can look out the window and see their lights.
Lee
http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

We live in Bentonville off of Hwy 12 and there are lots of lights in my subdivision!
Briana

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Ralene--I'm like you! I'd love lots of lights!

Hi Lee. Thanks for commenting!

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Bentonville off of Hwy 12? I have no idea where that is. My husband works in Bentonville. Maybe he does. I'll ask!

Cassandra Frear said...

When we moved to Pennsylvania, I was struck by the tradition of putting candle lights in the windows. I see it in Virginia, too. It's so simple and lovely. There are scores of houses with just candle lights in the windows.

We did it, too. The candle lights looked beautiful on our 1896 home in its old neighborhood.

Now we live (temporarily) in North Carolina, this Georgia girl is missing those candle lights. The simple elegance, the welcome, the quiet offering.

Briana Stiles said...

Hwy 12 is the road that takes you out to the airport. We actually live off of 112 (turn left at the light by the White Oak Station on Hwy 12) out towards Cave Springs. I've heard Kensington subdivision in Betonville also has a lot of light. Kensington is off of Hwy 72 out towards pea ridge. Briana

T. Anne said...

Gosh, half my house is lit up. I really want to decorate the back fence since it faces a street. I'm hoping tomorrow night we'll take the kids on our yearly drive to visit the well lit neighborhoods. I live near a lot of scrooges ;)

T. Anne said...

Oops. Where did my comment go? Did I accidentally delete? If not, ignore me while I ramble on...

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