Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Lights

Whalen’s Wanderings
Lighting up Christmas Traditions

Christmas is fully in the air at my house. The lights are all up and the tree is decorated. The smell of candy, ginger, and fir boughs is wafting lightly through the dining room as I write this and I get a bubbly feeling in my gut. Christmas for me has always been a time where family and friends come together and enjoy the season. It is a time of traditions.

One of the many traditions we have is the annual drive around to look at all the Christmas lights on the houses in our area. It is amazing the lengths some people go through to make their home look festive. Some houses are decked out in a variety of colors with thousands of lights while some have a single color, other houses use a flood light to accentuate certain features of their house while others simply light there windows with a battery operated candle.

No matter how you decorate your house, it is always great to drive around and see the colors and the spirit of Christmas. While I appreciate the lights and colors I also like the drive and the tradition. The drive is much more complete if it is snowing. We have even gambled on not taking a drive one night so that maybe we could get snow at a later date. The snow adds a surreal, snow globe feel to the drive.

The fact that we frequently receive a snowy white Christmas is a large benefit of living in this part of the world. I can’t imagine Christmas in a warmer, greener climate. I really couldn’t enjoy Christmas without the snow. It not only softens the topography but also the youthful celebration and places a sullen peacefulness over me that that helps me appreciate the true spirit of Christmas much fuller. The slow pace of tradition and the softening touch of the snow provide me with the structure I need to slow my pace down and keep me sane through the holiday season.

Another holiday tradition is the turkey dinner, but beyond that we often take an afternoon hike after the dinner. I think a part of this is to rid ourselves of the guilt of gluttony during dinner, but a bigger part is the simple enjoyment of the outdoors and family and knowing that we are continuing the tradition.

It is my hope that all of you have a white Christmas filled with great traditions. I hope you are able to enjoy the comfort of friends and family while gathered around a Christmas tree on the morning of Christ’s birth. I hope you are able to get out and enjoy the natural gifts Mother Nature has bestowed on us here in King’s County.
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