WORDS BY NIKKI SORBELLO
Christmas lights conjure up special childhood memories of tiptoeing through the house late at night, the only illumination coming from the twinkling lights on the Christmas tree. It’s peaceful. Beautiful. Mesmerising. Calming.
Untangling lights, checking bulbs and balancing precariously on a ladder to attach lights to gutters and fascias is likely to cause the slip of a few curse words and be the cause of some grumpy Grinch moments. But there is nothing quite like the awe and wonder that Christmas lights bring to thousands of spectators in the Bundaberg Region every year.
Is it because it’s the one time of year that we give ourselves permission to slow down? Take it all in? Walk down the street? Talk to neighbours and strangers? Contemplate the year that was and what is to come? We make plans around the annual Christmas Lights drive. We arrange to meet other families to walk through new neighbourhoods.
Christmas lights are starting to go up earlier and are taken down later, to allow more time for people to enjoy them. They are getting more elaborate. Shows. Mechanised moving decorations. Snow machines. Giant inflatables. Interactive light shows. Displays set to music. Homeowners in Santa and Grinch suits are starting to make nightly appearances to delight younger audiences.
The reasons for creating a light display are varied. Competition with a neighbour. Carrying on a family tradition. The insistence of a spouse and children. The desire not to be ‘The Grinch’ of the street. Community obligation to continue a light display that has become known and beloved by families that return year upon year to visit.
It’s a collective project. Many houses decorated with lights, yet every house is different. Their own personality shining through. Classic. Themed. Gawdy. Bright, Rainbow. Done well, some are even elegant. There is something for everyone to enjoy, as conversation turns to which house is the best in the street, ‘we might try that next year’ and why Scrooge couldn’t even put up one string of lights.
Christmas lights are the epitome of what the holiday season represents. Coming together and sharing something simply for the joy it brings others.
Lights were used in Scandinavian countries to illuminate the street during the dark winter solstice, long before they became synonymous with Christmas. Inside, candles began making their way onto trees to shine light on ornaments, no doubt a hazardous practice.
In 1882 the first Christmas tree was lit by electric lights as a publicity stunt to promote the incandescent bulb created by Edison and Edward Johnson. Outdoor lights were
created in 1927.
TOP CHRISTMAS LIGHTS LOCATIONS
- Longview Street, Ashfield (follow Lightup Longview on Facebook)
- Thomas Healy Drive, Bundaberg East
- Trinity Close, Bargara
- Foster Drive, North Bundaberg
- Bundaberg Botanic Gardens
- Parklands, Branyan
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