I have discovered a new Christmas tradition (I liked what Beth wrote about picking and choosing traditions each year!): Driving around, looking at all the crazy and elaborate Christmas lights that adorn people’s homes.
It’s amazing to me how much time and money people spend on decorations each year, and I always wonder if their December electric bill is as inflated as their blow-up Santas on a motorcycle.
Don’t misunderstand, there is no criticism here, just pure awe and delight. There is nothing that gets me in the spirit more than driving around the neighborhood with friends and family, blasting Christmas music, and searching for the best of the best in radiant splendor. From blow-up Santas, snowmen, or Snoopy in a Santa hat, to animated polar bears and nativity scenes, to the more classic white lights frosting the bushes and trees and shaped into star–I love them all. The more the better. In fact, forget the single strands of lights–I want the whole house (and street?!) outlined in holiday brilliance.
So are you thinking you might want to venture out and find some holiday splendor of your own? Last night we caravaned with some friends and searched out some great neighborhoods. Some of the fun was just in driving around and coming across some hidden gems. But here are some of the things we found that I can “gift” to you:
Wealthy neighborhoods does not necessarily equal better decorations.
We drove out to Marblehead Neck, dreaming of large extravagant homes decked out to the max with Christmas lights. Hmmm….we mostly saw window candles and some wreaths (yawn). By far, the best home we saw was this one:
The Lynch/Van Otterloo YMCA Neighborhood
One area of Marblehead we DID find was Riverside Drive right off of Leggs Hill Rd going up to the Y. These pictures do not do it justice. It seems like the whole street agreed to decorate their entire front yard in classic white, red and green colors. Because all the homes have taken part, the street looks spectacular. Definitely worth checking out.
Witchcraft Heights, Salem
In the maze of winding streets surrounding Witchcraft Heights Elementary we discovered a gold mine of Christmas festivity. This is where you go with the little ones: Jenna loved identifying all the Santas and snowmen, and squealed with joy at the large blow-up Charlie Brown Christmas Train. There were animated lighted polar bears, elephants, presents, and snow globes. The only advice is: bring your GPS. Otherwise, you might find yourself stuck there all night. It really is a maze. A maze of Christmas goodness!
We have driven down here several times, starting from Downtown Peabody, to where it crosses under I-95. There are some great homes to see a long the way, including one with Santa and his sleigh floating in the sky. Our favorite one is a string of apartments on the right hand side (right after Feery Road) that are covered from head-to-toe in lights and decorations. It lights up the whole sky. Brilliant. (sorry folks, no picture for this one, you’ll have to see for yourself!)
So pack up the kids, take a travel mug full of hot chocolate, tune into some Christmas jingles, and have yourself a merry little Christmas Light-Sighting Adventure. And don’t forget to tell us about any treasures you may find!