Christmas Traditions and Christmas Lights

At Christmas we all have those unique family traditions. Some, are more unique than others. Some of those traditions go back decades or longer while some are newer. One tradition in my home area of Michigan seems to be fading and I wonder if it will be gone completely someday. After talking with Stephanie, a co-worker of mine I found out I wasn’t the only one who noticed this change.

When I was a little kid living in West Michigan in burbs there were always those certain neighborhoods that took Christmas lights to a whole new level. They were the ones that people would drive to from miles away to see and cars full of families would line up through the neighborhood, clogging the roads and taking pictures of strangers homes done up in bright and blinking Christmas lights. I looked forward to this for many years. My uncle lived in such a neighborhood but I don’t recall if he ever took part in the ordeal but his neighbors did.

Picture courtesy of http://hopkins.typepad.com/julia/2006/01/

My neighborhood had several houses that really “did it up” but it wasn’t one of those ones that took it to a noticeable extreme. I’m sure these neighborhoods existed and still may all over the country during the typical Christmas holiday season. I’ve seen them in Michigan, Oregon not so much in Idaho and oddly enough in Florida. I am not sure what made large swaths of suburban neighborhoods even get into the Christmas light extravaganzas. Maybe it was neighborhood pride, keeping up with the joneses, a money or friendly driven competition, or just a pure unadulterated love for Christmas.

Picture by Night Photography http://www.davidhgatley.com/gatlog/?p=183

In years long past you would hear about these neighborhoods from friends, other families and occasionally even on the local news. In recent years however, in the west part of Michigan you haven’t heard about them as much. My coworker, Stephanie, went out with her family driving around looking for such Christmas light displays and didn’t have much luck. Over the past several years I haven’t seen much or heard about them either and it’s left me feeling a little less Christmassy sometimes.

I wonder why these sorts of displays are on the decline. It could be the economy and high electric bills, lack of Christmas cheer or even a changing age group in some neighborhoods which traditionally did do it. Occasionally you hear about that ONE crazy house somewhere with lights and music but no neighborhood wide displays. Maybe it’s one of those traditions that are fading but it’s one I’m going to miss. It’s a tradition I would have liked to share with my son Jax Michael.

So, if you have any great pictures of Christmas light displays you would like to share feel free. Also, what are some other Christmas traditions you had that you don’t practice as often?

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