Advent Calendar – Outdoor Decorations

by Sherry Stocking Kline
December 5th, 2009

GeneaBloggers’ Thomas MacEntee has a neat Advent Calendar Challenge going for Genealogy Bloggers! Today’s challenge is below:

And for those of you who think you can click ahead and cheat, just try it! Thomas has that covered on his calendar, too.

I would remind him, though, that after 12:00 midnight, it is tomorrow, technically it really is…

Outdoor Decorations

Did people in your neighborhood decorate with lights? Did some people really go “all out” when decorating? Any stories involving your ancestors and decorations?

No farmer that I can recall had Christmas lights in their yard…

I grew up on a farm, and no farmer that I can recall had Christmas lights in their yard, nor did anyone in the tiny town that I grew up near.

Today, it is fairly common to see Christmas lights outlining  tractors and other equipment in a farmer’s front yard (especially antique tractors) and sometimes the big round bales as well!   The decorations are as unique as the owner’s imaginations!

It wasn’t till I hit my teen years that I spent a lot of time in a  slightly larger town, and we began to notice that more and more people were decorating their yards, probably in part due to the Christmas lighting contest that offered  prizes for the best display.

After I married, my husband and I began to take my mother, who positively loves all Christmas lights,  around the towns and sometimes to the Christmas Display “Isle of Lights” on a small island in the middle of a creek in the nearby town of  Winfield, Kansas, where each year new displays are added.

Often the car is full to capacity, Christmas carols are playing on a CD in the stereo, and old and young voices are ooohing and aaaahing at the displays.

You can hear “Look, over there!” and “Isn’t that beautiful…”

Before and after our visit to the “Isle of Lights”, we travel some of the more well-lit streets, searching for more Christmas displays, and you can hear “Look, over there!” and “Isn’t that beautiful…” over the sounds of “Silent Night” and “Silver Bells” on the radio. (Singing along is allowed and encouraged!)

Placing outdoor lights on our home (my husband’s and mine) was something we always talked about, and didn’t do until the coming of the “icicle lights”.  Somehow, those captured our imagination, and we bought strings for ourselves and my mom and up they went, lighting the area around our homes in a beautiful radiant glow, especially on snow-covered ground.

I think the Mountain Genealogist said it best on her Advent Calendar post:

When the sky goes from light to dark on a mid-December’s evening, and there’s a light falling of snow, and I turn on that little strand of lights, my little home suddenly takes on a different look.

Suddenly, it becomes a humble beacon to the celebration of the birth of the One who made this season all that it is!

How glorious is that?

Amen…

2 Responses to “Advent Calendar – Outdoor Decorations”

  • Bean:

    My light hanging days are long over, but I still enjoy riding around to look at light displays. One of my favorites is at the Botanical gardens where they create amazing displays of flowers, plants, animals. The hanging fushias made entirely out of lights are some of my favorites.

    You can see some of the displays peeking out of heavy snow at http://www.bellevuebotanical.org/dlights/fm2008_snow.htm

  • We have a lovely Botanical Garden in nearby Wichita, KS, and though I’ve visited many times in spring, summer, and fall, I’ve yet to go through the winter, and they do have awesome displays for the Christmas season I’m told!

    Thank you for the great comment, I’m headed to see the link you shared with me, and Thank you!!

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