A shine on the season

By Jane Muller

Whether you leave them up all year or hang them before or after the weather becomes wintery, thank you for lighting up for the festive season.

The countryside is pretty dark by the time I head home along a mainly rural route. There are times when snow brightens the landscape but in the weeks around Christmas some homeowners celebrate with lights. Neighbourhoods have dimmed over the years from a time when almost every house had a least one string of coloured lights.

Our first “energy crisis” in the ‘70s could be blamed for a temporary dark spell but manufacturers got wise and created lights with more energy conscious appetites. With these options, it’s possible to feel okay about brightening these long winter nights.

While some of us practice moderation, others clearly get their inspiration from Clark Griswold and his amazing display featured in the classic “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”. The electric enthusiasm of light show fanatics can be witnessed in many communities, attracting crowds like moths to a porch light.

I drive past an expansive display on my commute. The property surrounding the gracious Victorian home features vignettes of lighted characters and animals, like a trio of sparkling pink flamingos. There are also intricate displays housed in sealed shelters populated with an incredible variety of figures and settings that depict winter scenes and themes. Music adds to the experience that requires visitors to park their cars and walk around the veritable winter wonderland.

After years of drive-by observing, last year I finally gave in to an impulse to pull over and explore. The passion these homeowners have for celebrating the season of light literally glowed throughout the vast yard. I imagine the interior of the home reflects the same zeal for Christmas.

Associate editor Christine Davis has included some beautiful Christmas décor in The Goods section this month. As much as decorations get us into the spirit, there are more impactful and meaningful ways to make the season bright. Check out her list of charitable giving ideas that provide an opportunity to share the hope, peace, joy and love upon which the season was founded.

Outdoor lighting shouldn’t be a measure of anyone’s goodwill but those lights make the season bright. Shine on.