Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Take joy...

 A photo that reminds me of my hometown's Christmas lights from childhood

Way back when I was a young girl, Christmas lights were a fascination.  I remember our little town's downtown being beautifully decorated and lit up for Christmas.  There were lines that crossed over our main street -- which was really called State Street --  on which garlands were draped along with jumbo red lights and wreaths.  There was a giant sized Christmas tree at the end of Main Street near the town hall  which was trimmed out with multicolored big-bulb lights, and was decorated by the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts who sprinkled tinsel, strung garland and added a few handmade ornaments on the very bottom branches as far up as they could reach.   Every store owner had worked hard to display their most desirable merchandise, decking store front windows with Christmas lights and aluminum Christmas trees to coax the shoppers in the door.  There were loud speakers croaking out Christmas music to the street below.  As a child, I thought it was simply magical to be out shopping downtown with snow falling, people bustling, and Bing Crosby singing Silver Bells all the while. 

During the Christmas season Mom always pressed Dad into taking the family for a drive around town to see the Christmas lights.  There was one house, I especially recall -- the Higashi's -- who always had a holiday theme.  One year they had a Holiday Train in their front yard and the lights on the wheels spun around like it was moving and there were cartoon people and toys bobbing up and down, waving from the train cars.  Santa was always perched at the chimney, all lit up with a spotlight and waving at us as we drove by.  Mr. Higashi must have loved planning his yearly Christmas light show anticipating  all the townsfolk driving by night after night.  Most people lit the traditional Christmas evergreen trees and some trimmed their windows and the peaks of their houses all in lights.  No matter what was lit up, as a child, I was in awe and overjoyed by it all.

This year as Hubby and I were cruising a few streets looking at the lights, I promised him that I wouldn't make fun of all the inflated Santas and Rudolphs or the overdone house trimmings.  As a grownup now, I've turned into a bit of a minimalist when it comes to Christmas lighting so I sometimes get overwhelmed by seeing a fully-lit, moving carousel in someone's front yard.  I did hollered out, "Holy Inflatables!" when I saw a bigger-than-life-sized inflated Santa and Frosty the Snowman on 5th Avenue, but I am trying, really trying to see the lights and the decorating as I did when I was eight.  It's more fun appreciating the efforts that some have made to light up the world with Christmas Joy than it is to be a critic.

So today, I wish for you the ability to see things through the eyes of a child, to let the Christmas lights thrill you and remind you that during this special season, all the world adds an extra light, a candle, a string of lights or an inflatable Frosty to bring a smile to a dark world.  Take Joy!

Oh, one more thing....do you know the book called Take Joy by Tasha Tudor?  It's an old book full of timeless stories, poems and songs, along with Tasha Tudor drawings, all about Christmas. Your library may have it.  If you get a chance, read it to your children or to your grandchildren or read it for yourself.  Lovely.

This is the third post of A Childlike Christmas hosted by dear Pom Pom.  You can read all the other posts about a Childlike Christmas in the sidebar of her blog.


  1. Oh Jody, you are funny. I love it. "Holy Inflatables!" haha

    We just got back from a night walk through the neighborhood and we purposely went down streets that had lots of lights. Unfortunately there were inflatables like Santa on a motorcycle. The nativities are by far my favorite.

  2. What a great post, Jody! I think driving around looking at Christmas lights is a sweet and simple pleasure for sure!
    We just do one line around the roof. I wish I could see the star on your barn.
    I must buy Take Joy. I'm quite taken with Tasha Tudor.
    Thank you for taking part in A Childlike Christmas! It is SO fun!

  3. Oh, such a lovely nostalgic post! I want to be full of innocent, childlike wonder all year long, with no more cynicism in my heart ever again. Wouldn't that be a happy way to live? Hugs, xxxx

  4. What a lovely post Jody! I LOVE to see all the Christmas lights -- Griswolds and all. There's a VERY tastefully decorated house not far from us that's all decked out -- it's just beautiful and it reminds me of a gingerbread house. I can only imagine how excited my 8 year old self would have been to have seen it!!!

  5. Oh it is just lovely. I have never heard of that book. I will be tracking it down. It sounds wonderful and I always do enjoy Tasha Tudor.

  6. I've been thinking a lot about Joy this week. Joy Joy Joy! And then I start singing "The Joy of the Lord is my strength" Have a joy filled week Jody!

  7. Your description of Christmas as a child in your hometown sounds a lot like mine -- so fun and magical. And my favorite thing is still driving around to look at the lights!

  8. A lovely post...thanks so much for sharing....I love the photo....I adore an old fashioned Christmas....blessings

  9. No houses bedecked in Christmas lights here in the Solomon Islands, but we find lots of ways to take joy anyway :-) Thanks for the reminder!

  10. Holy Inflatables - wonderful!

    I love driving around aqt this time of year looking at the lights as well.

  11. TT is who I immediately thought of when I saw the title of your post!

    My town has a wonderful light display in the City Hall area that we love to look at and we always take one night to drive around to look at everyone's lights!

    Have a wonderful Christmas!


  12. Take Joy reminds me of Fra Giovanni's poem; both beautiful, especially now.

  13. I love driving around town at night a day or two before Christmas and seeing the lights. I even like the inflatables, which have seemed to have gotten very popular lately. Oh, but I am easy to please when it comes to Christmas ...


  14. Hehehe! Holy inflatables is right! I could totally identify with the awe of the lights as a child. I wish I could say the same today. Maybe if there was snow :o)...


  15. The lights are magic... Thank you for the encouragement to see things through the eyes of a child. It's the only way to truly GET the season. Christ tells us to have faith like a child. I'm certain having a heart softened by childlike wonder at this time makes everyone more sensitive to the Holy Spirit. We aren't just playing. We're softening.

    Blessings, Debbie

  16. When I was a little girl my very favorite thing about Christmas was to lie under the tree and look up in it at all the lights. Our little town become magical at night with all the lights. A real treat xox Clarice


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