“When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things — not the great occasions — give off the greatest glow of happiness.”

Dinner was wonderful. The plate was tottering under the weight of all the food. There was even enough to bring home for me to have leftovers tonight, a whole meal of leftovers.

The restaurant was already lit for the festive season, and on the drive home we also saw houses bright with lights, some in white and others multi-colored. I always feel like a kid when it comes to Christmas lights. Even alone in the car I ooh and aah. Every year I take Gracie, and we go on a see the lights trip, just as I did with my family when I was growing up. I remember my brother was at one back seat window, and I was at the other. We’d yell out, “There’s another one,” and all heads would swivel to see the house. We had favorite houses and favorite streets. A few streets in Saugus had a neighborhood competition. All the houses were bright with strings of colored lights from those large outside bulbs we had when I was a kid. The colors were true and they were beautiful. We’d drive through the streets with our mouths wide in wonder. Nobody had to say a word as every house was lit. Our heads went back and forth quickly so we wouldn’t miss a thing.

My hometown fire station had a Santa climbing a ladder to the top of the bell tower. The town hall down the street from the fire station was out-lined in lights. The square had lights strung across the main street from building to building. One house, a couple of blocks from mine, had the whole house outlined in lights including every window and door. Lights also ran across the top of the fence surrounding their yard. I remember they had collies running in the yard. My dad decorated the bushes in the front of the house, and we had Christmas lights in the windows, the ones you turned on and off by twisting the bulbs. If I close my eyes, I can see the picture window with a light on each side and a light with five bulbs in the middle. I remember the bulbs were orange.

I was always excited to see those lights they were the signal that Christmas was creeping nearer and nearer.

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20 Comments on ““When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things — not the great occasions — give off the greatest glow of happiness.””

  1. Hedley Says:

    We are on the clock. Our guests will leave tomorrow and Christmas will transport from the basement. It’s the season.

    I’m listening to 75 at 75 , a nostalgia trip for sure…right now he is singing about a devil woman with evil on her mind….CLIFF

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      I just spent an inordinate amount of time choosing songs today. I wanted light in there somewhere. I didn’t realize that more than not a song with light in the title is country with some Christian thrown in to muddy the waters so to speak.

      I will have a mostly bare house this Christmas as I will be in Colorado. I will put up one small tree, my scrub pine, as it is artificial. The real tree I will miss greatly.

  2. Bob Says:

    Although we had a small Thanksgiving dinner we still have leftovers. Today I’m going to eat leftover Chinese food from the night before. I can only take so much Turkey and stuffing in one 24 hour period. 🙂

    We used to drive around the local area to see the Christmad lights when my kids were little. There’s one neighborhood, Interlochen, in Arlington Texas that has a spectacular display and cars line up each night just to drive through the neighborhood. It’s become a tourist attraction.

    It’s interesting that we celebrate Chanukah which is called the Festival of Lights commemorating a military victory over the Asyrian Greeks and paganism. It also celebrates a miracle of one day’s oil lasting eight days in the re dedicated Temple menorah in Jerusalem. Chanukah is a minor Jewish Holliday and it occurred a few hundred years before the birth of Jesus and both holidays are celebrated with lights. It must have something to do with the Winter Solstice. 🙂

    Yesterday the Cowboys were trounced by the Panthers in the Cowboy’s 40th game on Thanksgiving day.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      I will finish the diner I had yesterday early evening. That will be the last of my turkey.

      Last week I craved Chinese food, and now here you go and mention it!

      I love lights, the more the better. My house has not too many lights but enough to be festive.

      I knew the miracle of the oil lasting but I didn’t know about the military victory. I agree about the Winter Solstice. We are getting into the darkest nights of the year so let there be light.

      I turned the game on here and there but when I saw the trouncing, that was the end of my checking.

  3. Richard Says:

    Wow. I’m still trying to figure out where my post yesterday went … it was up ever so briefly and then – as if by Majick! – ‘POOF!’ … must have been the Thanksgiving Leprechaun messin’ with me. I hope all had a great day …

    Dinner with my daughter and her family was great – my SIL’s parents drove down from OH to be with us. As is par for the course, they were almost sideswiped by some yahoo-in-a-hurry as they traveled the interstate into town – ‘almost’ being the key word.

    It was a great day, and a great meal. My daughter is such a good cook. I’m no slouch in the kitchen, but she consistently turns out presentation-level TV food that tastes absolutely terrific. Yesterday was no exception. The crawfish jalapeño poppers were a great starter, but the rest of the items were so beyond those they defy description. Suffice it to say I’m going to be a Very Sad Boy when the leftovers sent home with me disappear … I shall nurse them carefully.

    Next on the agenda will be prepping for Christmas … we’ll take our yearly drive to see the lights and listen to the music piped into the car via the magic of Wi-Fi. That’s a great development the neighbors probably appreciate. They can watch the light show without being forced into Axe-Grabbing mode by endless repetitions of ‘Silent Night’ or (please poke my eardrums out, Jesus) ‘The Little Drummer Boy’. That really is in a class by itself when it comes to Worst Music of All Time … oh – wait – I forgot Ravel’s ‘Bolero.’

    New Orleans had Mister Bingle. A snowman. A magical snowman. He lived in the display windows of Maison Blanche, one of the tonier department stores, but not quite at the exalted levels of Kreeger or Godchaux’s. Mister Bingle had his own jingle and was quite the ‘TV personality’ [sic] in the days when puppets were All The Rage. ‘He’ (gender being assumed to be male, ‘cuz ‘Mister’ Bingle) was a simpler story for a simpler and less-hectic time. Pretty straightforward, he was … he supplied toys to make kids happy. Is there a simpler storyline for any commercial writer?

    • katry Says:

      Richard,
      I will check the folders which may have eaten your yesterday’s posting. It will go up if I can find it.

      I’m glad everyone arrived safely. I always think the holidays are when you slow down to enjoy family, friends and festivities. I’ll have a few frantic days to wrap and mail then I get to slow down.

      The crawfish jalapeño poppers made me salivate. I’m with you in loving leftovers. Even though I ate out, there was so much food I’ll get two meals out of it.

      I love the lights and know all the best stops, all the best houses. One even has a Christmas movie running in an old TV console. None, though, have added music heard on the radio. I have seen them on TV when houses have synched lights and music.

      I love Mister Bingle. Your description reminded me of Enchanted Village. It was in Jordan Marsh and you wound through the village to get to Santa Claus. Every window in the village was a house or store and had characters which moved, mostly their heads, arms and hands. By today’s standards, it would be considered prehistoric, but to me it was magical.

      • Richard Says:

        Kat, if you and other Coffee-ites want to get a look at ‘Mr Bingle’ in the flesh (so to speak), here’s a link to YouTube’s ‘Naturally N’Awlins’ history …

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjGBS3xKJMo

        The bearded guy, Frank Davis, was in my unit, and he passed away at a relatively young age, so in his own way, he – and Mr Bingle – have both become part of things that are ‘Naturally N’Awins’ …

      • katry Says:

        Richard,
        Thanks for finding this. I like the little tune. His hat, the ice cream, cone is unique, but it makes perfect sense: ice cream needs cold like Mr. Bingle does.

        I thought picking a snowman for a place that rarely gets snow was fun.

        It is a neat thing that Frank Davis is immortalized in this clip. I chuckled at his hugs to Mr. Bingle.

  4. Bubba Says:

    Oh Geez, 28 more shopping days till Christmas

    • katry Says:

      Bubba,
      I know you jest, but I’m busy shopping as I have Colorado family to whom I have to wrap and send their packages. Every day is precious.

  5. olof1 Says:

    It’s only recently, the latest ten fifteen years, that people here have started to decorate outside. If someone had a spruce growing in the garden they could occasionally put lights in it but only white ones. I guess they thought it to be a bit frivolous to have somthing else 🙂 🙂 🙂 The Lutheran grip on us wouldn’t allow us to actually enjoy life, that would probably lead us on the road to hell 🙂 🙂

    We did however have our electric advent candlesticks by our windows but that was as frivolous we dared to be. Thankfully it is different now but not so much out here on the countryside. I think we are three homes that have any lights outside in the village here, I guess they see us as rather odd 🙂

    The Christmas season starts here on Sunday so this weekend is dedicated to christmas decorating our homes. I have my tiny christmas tree placed in my livingroom and I’ll turn on the lights in a while.

    Have a great day!
    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      I remember you had pictures of lights last year. They looked great given how dark it is at night. Many people here are now using only white lights. When I was a kid, they were mostly multi-colored, even the window lights. Now many people are using LED lights which have strange colors.

      I was surprised how many lights are already lit. People are tackling yards earlier than usual. I guess it is because the weather has been warm. Today it was 58˚.

      I’m going to use Sunday for wrapping the gifts I have to send to Colorado.

      Have a great night!

  6. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    A lot of places around me had their lights up and on even before Thanksgiving. Maybe they were leftover from last Christmas. 🙂 My neighbor at the opposite end of the dirt road from me has some strange blue light effect going on across the front façade of his house. It looks like an aquamarine pool on a windy day. 🙂

    So far I have only window candles that need new batteries. The skeletal lawn flamingo has a necklace of warm white flower-shaped lights that are solar powered. They’re there until I figure out what to do with them. I am expecting delivery of a door wreath from the Boy Scouts. Perhaps I will wind the flower lights into the wreath.

    No leftovers here. I ate at my brother’s and they offered no doggie bags. It’s okay. I have steak and American chop suey in the fridge and ice cream in the freezer. Life is good.

    Enjoy the day.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      I left a couple of strands of colored lights on the deck rail so they have been lit since last year. I always have lights in the backyard which would be so very dark without them.

      I have electrical lights in the windows, always lit. The flamingo is inside for the winter. He does have a Christmas outfit. The gnome is inside too.

      I have yet to buy wreaths but where I generally get them was filled with cars so I kept driving by.

      I just ordered take out-pizza!

      Have a great evening!!

  7. Rick OzTown Says:

    What a picture you paint. Glad the brushes and the palette are near at hand during this season of bright memories!


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