The Joy of Holiday Lights

img_4580About a week before our neighborhood holiday party a few years ago, I got a frantic text from our neighborhood social director Ashley. She had just been told it was her job to decorate our neighborhood Christmas tree (yes, we have such a thing), but nothing had been done yet! The horror! She needed decorators and decorations, STAT. So, Alex ran right to the garage and got out his little giant ladder (Like he needed an excuse to drag out the ladder. He loves that thing). Pete, the King of “the Castle,” gave Ashley all his old miscellaneous lights and bobbles. Alex and I headed to the Sarah May Downie herb garden which surrounds our neighborhood Christmas tree, where we met several neighbors who were untangling ancient lights. There was one problem: the tree was too big. We didn’t have enough lights.

We strategized. What was the optimum way to display this odd combination miscellaneous lights? Small ones, large ones, white ones, multi colored ones. It was decided that the lower branches would have swags of the larger lights. The bottom trunk would be surrounded by white lights like a layer of snow. The red and white striped baubles would be hung as far as the ladder would reach. And then there were the long strands of multi colored miniature lights. There were three of them. We would wrap them around the trunk, and pull them to the outer corners of the courtyard, like a canopy of colorful starlight. The problem was that the ladder didn’t fit in the tree branches so we couldn’t get the strands high enough to create the canopy effect. Enter Joy. Literally.

How to be Neighborly: Sometimes, you must rise to the occasion.

She entered the tree, climbed up 20 feet or so, like a giant squirrel, and we fed her the strands. She wrapped the strands around the branches so they held firm and then we spread them to the outer corners as planned. Just like a Chevy Chase movie, we all observed as we plugged in our masterpiece and the tree came to life. Never before had a random collection of forgotten holiday decorations looked so festive. The tree has before and since been more beautiful, but never so much fun.  It was a little Charlie Brown-esque, but it was ours, and it was done with fun and love in our hearts.

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