Christmas lights: they’re beautiful, they’re bright, they’re part of the cheer that makes this the most wonderful time of the year, and they have their very own holiday. YEP! Recognized annually, December 1st is National Christmas Lights Day, and for my family, it is definitely a day worth celebrating.
Growing up, my family decorated the tree with lights, and put those white icicle lights on the front of our house (JUST the front). We also had an angel outline lit up by lights hung in one of our windows. It was simple, still pretty, but nothing more than those few things.
Then, I met my husband, Cody. Now, Christmas lights fill multiple bins in our garage and we purchase more every year. He grew up in a family that won city yard decorating competitions back in our home town. His mom LOVES lights, and his dad is such a sweetheart to always embrace the frigid cold temperatures to help bring her ideas to life (we’re from the Midwest where Christmastime actually feels like Christmastime, haha). Cody brought a tradition into our lives together that I have fully embraced and love to be a part of.
Over the last 10 years, Christmas lights have become oddly special to me in a way I didn’t think a materialistic thing could. I mean, my husband proposed to me under the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center in New York City on Christmas Eve. OF COURSE, THEY’RE SPECIAL TO ME!
And each year, we work together as a family to bring as much light, literally, to the holiday season as possible. We start by testing all of our strands by plugging them in and fixing bulbs and fuses where necessary. It’s tedious work that takes time, but that’s a time we’re together working on something we love. Then, there’s the design plan because no two years can be exactly the same, and each year we have more lights to use. I am definitely an “artsy-fartsy” creative type while my husband is more technical and mathematical . . . until it comes to Christmas lights.
Every year I can see his mind light up just like the lights themselves as he starts to think of new ways to make a display. In all honesty, I think he secretly competes with his mom from afar. Where she is creating something in Nebraska, he is here trying to make it even better in South Carolina.
Depending on our schedules and the weather, we can usually knock it all out in two days or less. Then comes the reveal! The first night after completion, we grab the kiddos and I stand at the end of the driveway with them while my husband gets ready to plug them in. Every year, Cody and I channel the same hype as Clark Griswold in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and every year Cody reenacts the scene where Clark grunts as he’s connecting the cords right before the house lights up. It’s funny to me every time because I am that in love with my husband.
We sit there in awe at the beautiful, bright display before us that we worked together to create and we love it. Our neighbors love us for it and it gives us a darn good reason to appreciate a holiday as simple as National Christmas Lights Day.
Does the joy you hear us experiencing make you want to go out and celebrate National Christmas Lights Day, too? Here are some great ways you can do just that;
1. Put Up Your Own Lights
We go all out, and it’s a lot of work we enjoy, but it doesn’t have to be for you. Keep it simple with a few lights indoors on your Christmas Tree and a pre-lit garland draped over your fireplace mantle, or go extreme, decking out the entire exterior of your house with hundreds of lights, yard blowups, and more. You can even get real extra and sync your lights to music just like “The Holiday House” does in our neighborhood. You can do it without lifting a finger, too! The Lowcountry has many businesses that offer to do the light hanging for you. They offer packages available that include all of the lights, as well. Here are a few options:
2. Travel Through Your Neighborhood
Last year, I made a large batch of slow-cooker hot cocoa, filled up a bunch of travel coffee mugs, and my family and a few of our friends piled up into the bed and cab of my husband’s truck to cruise the neighborhood for all the Christmas spirit. We jammed out to Christmas music and got to see a large variety of high spirited homes and some that kept it simple with the bare minimum. More importantly, we took the time to unplug and be in the moment with some of the people we care most about.
3. Check Out Local Tree Lightings and Other Displays
The Charleston area is booming with opportunities to see the magic that Christmas lights bring to the Holiday season. You can enjoy large displays like the Festival of Lights in James Island County Park or smaller experiences like Celebrate the Season in Moncks Corner or Deck the Halls in Nexton. These, along with other fun parades and light displays are great ways for you and your family to get out and start the tradition of celebrating National Christmas Lights Day.
The early 1880s brought Christmas lights into existence, and they’ve come a very long way since then. Don’t let the joy lights can bring pass you by this holiday season.
Get out and celebrate December 1st, National Christmas Lights Day, this year and for all the years to come!