It’s December and the frenzy of the holidays is in full swing. With only a week until school breaks for the winter there are projects to complete, plans to create…not to mention the shopping, decorating, event attending and more that comes with the season.
Our neighborhood is one that hangs their Christmas lights on Thanksgiving weekend, with each house just a bit more sparkly than the one next door. With the short days and early dark I notice the lights coming on as I head home on the evening. We’ve been talking about taking time to go out and walk our neighborhood after dinner one night so we can look closely at the lights rather than simply drive by them on the way home.
So, in spite of being tired on a Friday evening after a busy, work-filled week, we headed out tonight to follow the tracks left by the lights.
Bundled up in heavy (Southern CA heavy) jackets and with camera in hand, we set off. We decided to go in the direction that we don’t see on our way home each day, up and around the corner. In addition to the lights on the houses, we also noticed the tracks left by the stars in the sky. As I photographed electric lights, my husband searched the sky for tracks of constellations (and consulted his constellation app for more information about what he was seeing).
The traditional white icicle lights are definitely the most common decoration in the neighborhood. But there is no shortage of the traditional trappings of Christmas. We found Santa…with a couple of arctic bears.
And a variety of versions of reindeer, including the red-nosed Rudolph. I’m partial to this more natural version set in among the trees (even if they are palm trees).
And it wouldn’t be Christmas without a trail marked by candy canes!
A couple of houses sported these inflatable characters. During the day they appear to be melted as they sit deflated until they are plugged in at dusk.
We saw twinkling lights, flashing lights, lights that were all red, lights in trees, on bushes, wrapped around pillars and poles. Lights arranged in the shapes of trees and wreaths. Sometimes the simplest were the most beautiful.
I often wonder about the electric bill of the people with the most lights. Do they plan for the increased usage as part of their annual budget? I have to admit, my house is one of the unadorned with only the porch lights to penetrate the dark. And yet I enjoy the display of lights my neighbors set out, adding light to the long nights of December.
Following the tracks of lights was a perfect ending to a busy week. Walking in the crisp cool evening was energizing and it was fun to notice the details of the displays and even get some new perspectives on decorations I had only previously seen from a particular angle.
I might just add this activity as a December tradition…and maybe even branch out a bit further to take a look at how others create tracks with lights. This was definitely a learning walk…my first focused on lights!