As Christmas approaches one family tradition is to drive the neighborhoods enjoying the Christmas lighting displays everyone puts up. The last few years there have been less and less. I understand, as our own lighting display has been downsized.
Last year many around our area protested a utilities rate hike in November set to reap the benefits of those who put up Christmas lighting displays. Yes, sadly we were one of those, since the year before our December utility bill had been a lot higher than in previous years. We couldn’t afford another huge increase, and the deliberate timing of the hike was deliberately grinchy, so we put up only the minimal lighting display. It was a sad year for enjoying Christmas lights displays.
This year, the rate hike will be put off until January as in previous years, except last year. Wise decision utilities department. The lightening displays have returned, and ours included.
The real point of this post is for many years, we watched a certain home in our area add to his homemade Christmas display and looked forward to seeing what had been added each year. It was not religious in nature, but fun. There were Peanuts characters, then Tweety Bird & its companions, Little Mermaid, the Grinch, Disney Characters, Winnie the Pooh and pals, just to name a few, all homemade. Spotlights illumined the display. Suddenly about four years ago, not only were there no new characters, but the display disappeared entirely. Each Christmas we checked, still the house was dark, no sign of the previously wonderful Christmas light and character display. Had they moved, after all this is a military town, people come and go a lot? Was there a family illness or emergency that caused the display to go missing? While we reveled in the other fantastic lighting displays, we were saddened as we drove past the dark house checking each year.
No we never knew the people who lived in that house. But we felt a connection to them watching the display grow year after year.
Last night, December 10, 2017, we clambered into our truck, hot chocolate in hand, to go check out the neighborhood Christmas lights. With trepidation we turned the corner where the darkened house had been for several years. Lo and behold, in all its previous glory the Christmas lights and beloved characters were on the front lawn, house and roof. We were ecstatic to see the house lit up once again, the Peanuts merry-go-round spinning slowly, all the other cartoon characters smiling broadly. No new characters, but that was alright because the decorations were back.
We took pictures, and decided to share the beloved display with you. Funny how one thing can brighten your spirits as that house did ours last night. This year I believe we will go back to that house and knock on their door and tell them how much we have enjoyed their display throughout the years. Also how much we missed it when it was gone. Christmas lighting is a time consuming, expensive endeavored and a labor of love. To those of you who set up Christmas displays year after year, THANK YOU!
Please share your Christmas Traditions with us in the comments.
Posted in My Say What Blog and tagged Cartoon Characters, Christmas Lighting, Colorado, Displays, Lights, Traditions by firstname.lastname@example.org with 2 comments.
Fun things about Christmas is traditions. Take for instance, the Land Down Under, because, well, someday I want to visit there, just probably not at Christmas. The English and Irish predominately settled Australia so it stands to reason their traditions reflect those countries. Aussie’s decorate their homes with ferns, palm leaves and evergreens along with blooming flowers of Christmas Bush and Christmas Bell Flower. It’s summer time in December down under, when most of the United States is looking forward to big flakes and blankets of snow for a white Christmas. Carols by Candlelight is one of the popular events in Australia. People come together under the stars at night to light candles and sing Christmas carols. Seems to me, it’s not far from our own tradition of Christmas carolers. I just can’t imagine Christmas without snow, that’s why I live in Colorado.
Because I am of Swedish descent, let’s take a peek at Christmas traditions in Sweden where in December the days are quite short, the nights long and the ground is usually snow-covered. The Christmas season begins at church on the first Sunday of Advent, which is the fourth Sunday before Christmas. Children use an Advent calendar to keep track of the first day of December until Christmas, just like some of ours do. Each morning, they open a flap in the calendar’s Christmas scene to see the charming picture behind it. This year, I have a modern Advent calendar on my computer and enjoy a surprise behind each door daily.
My husband is part Native American. The European settlers had a large influence on Native American culture. The Winter Solstice has always been a reverent time for Native people all over the world during the Christmas season. It’s a time to offer gratitude, honor family and ancestors, and follow a ritual observance of beliefs. A few days before Solstice, members of various tribes create prayer sticks to honor an ancestor or native deity. They plant the sticks during a ceremony on the Solstice.
For many Native Americans, continuing cultural and historical integrity is extremely importance. Without this focus, the “old ways” would become only a memory. Therefore, many tribal members choose to combine European Christmas traditions like holiday trees and mangers with native customs including dances to honor Indian heritage as well as Christian beliefs.
As for my family’s traditions: The weekend after Thanksgiving, we put up the Christmas tree and decorations inside and out. Weather permitting. Trust me, climbing around on a wet, icy roof is not a smart idea. Our tree is not real but it looks great complete with pine cones and needles. We have artificial because I’m allergic. <sigh>
We pack everyone, pets included, in the SUV and drive around enjoying the Christmas light displays with mugs of hot cocoa in hand. Watching Christmas movies throughout December is tradition but so is making candy such as Divinity, Fantasy Fudge and Beaver Dams. What are Beaver Dams, you ask. Well, take a package of butterscotch chips, melt them in a double boiler, stir in half-package of crispy Chow Mein Noodles and one-half can of cocktail peanuts. Spoon the concoction by tablespoon full onto foil and let set. They look like beaver dams hence the name. YUMMY.
What traditions does your family observe on Christmas Eve and Day? Or during the month of December? I look forward to hearing from you.
Posted in Holidays, My Say What Blog and tagged Christmas, Christmas Lights, Holidays, homemade candy, Traditions by email@example.com with 4 comments.