Each year, shortly after Thanksgiving, the boxes would come out of the garage and the Christmas lights were set up. A wreath was hung on the front of our ranch-style house with a small floodlight in the yard focused on it, then strands laid throughout the front bushes. In less than a day, with some grunting from dad and a trip to the hardware store to replace lights which mysteriously fizzled in the off season, our house turned into a wintry wonderland.
Now with a home of my own, I am aware of the effort it takes to put up even the simplest display of Christmas lights on a house, and I appreciate the joy of spotting lights from the car with my toddler in the back seat. Frankly, anything that involves not removing a toddler from the car seat is a gift in and of itself.
’Tis the season of light peeping, as we head out to find some bright color in the darkest days of the season. I still haven’t figured out how a simple strand of twinkle lights stapled to a roof top can bring so much joy, but I have learned that viewing Christmas lights is a great equalizer between kids and their parents, as we all get giddy when we find some while out on a drive.
Some have taken their Christmas lights ritual far beyond a few tangled ropes of lights. According to a 2011 Business Insider story, families spend $6 billion annually on holiday decorations. This comes as no surprise as ABC airs “The Great Christmas Light Fight” featuring families around the country decking their roofs and yards with highly orchestrated light shows that can be seen from space.
And no, that’s no longer a hyperbole, since according to International Business Times, a NASA scientist just released series of photos from the Suomi NPP satellite showing concentrations of Christmas lights around the US.
Now, I will admit I’m a bit of a Scrooge when it comes to questioning why people would spend hundreds of hours and who knows how much money and effort stapling, wiring, and programming a home light show fit for astronauts, but if it brings them holiday joy, I’ll shut my mouth and just enjoy the view.
Plus, there is no way I am going to stand in the way of the legions of little “Frozen” fans who will want to see the display in Newark, Calif. by Tom BetGeorge, featuring “Let It Go” and available to view from the comfort of your own couch via YouTube.
Opinions abound on where the best Christmas light shows are, but there are sure to be tips in your area on where to find the best light displays, via sites like Red Tricycle, which offers posts from the community on activities for kids. Here are the site’s top picks for light shows in Los Angeles.
Also, the real estate agents at Redfin have weighed in on their votes for the five best neighborhoods in the US to see lights, plus suggestions for light peeping in 34 metro areas around the country.
So even if you can’t get your own display up in time for next week, you can be sure to find some holiday cheer around your neck of the woods, and give a honk as you pass the best decked houses on the block.