Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Christmas Lights

December 5 - Outdoor Decorations
Did people in your neighborhood decorate with lights?
Did some people really go “all out” when decorating?

The Christmas light displays in our neighborhood were simple. We ran a string of lights across the front of the house. Some neighbors had lights on pine trees in the yard but the teenagers would steal bulbs and smash them in the street so they didn't last long. If you wanted lights you had to decorate early and the lights would remain up until at least March. Dad had a set of hooks on the house and it took him very little time to put them up. Ours didn't all go out if one bulb went but some of the neighbors did and when that happened their lights were done for the season. We used to take evening drives to look at the lights in other neighborhoods.

February 1966, shortly after the blizzard

When we lived in Western NY we would go to Niagara Falls every year for the Festival of Lights. On the way we passed by one house mansion, in Clarence, NY, that was completely outlined in white lights along with the row of pines leading down the driveway that we thought was amazing. When we got to The Falls we'd drive around and look at the lights. Then we'd park and walk around the area near the park because I loved the Oxylights. I don't know quite how to describe it. The entire nine story building was lit up and the lights were synchronized to Christmas music. I've seen the videos of houses with huge light displays set to music but this was very different and I found it mesmorizing. I hate being out in the cold but my kids were always ready to move on before I was. I was disappointed to find this article from last year:
During the now-defunct A Festival of Lights, the entire south side of the glass building was used as the stage for the spectacular “OxyLights,” a display of moving lights and music.

These days we don't do any outdoor decorating. A few of my neighbors do a few lights and those inflatable yard decorations are all over the place. I like the look of icicle lights, especially on some of the old Victorian houses. We do drive through the Lights on the Lake display every few years. Here's a video I found on youtube from last year.

An Advent Calendar count down
to Christmas!

Who else is participating?

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Destination: Austin Family
and get the details!


Thomas MacEntee said...

I've heard about the Oxylights from relatives in Syracuse and Buffalo - too bad I never got to see them!

Colleen said...


Having grown up in NF, I never heard of the Oxylights! Looks like it was after we moved in 1977
Leave it to Hooker. My mom's brother and his family lived in in the area affected by Love Canal, got moved in and out several times before finally got moved out for good. Sad. Apparently people are living there again.

Great post, and I enjoyed the video.

Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

Niagara Falls seems sadder every time I visit. They loose so much tourism to the Canadians. Love Canal is unbelievable to me. I can't believe anyone would live there now. We initially planned to move to Grand Island but we ended up in a traffic jam on the way to look at houses and I got ill from the chemical fumes in the air. That would have been 1989. It is such a beautiful area with so much potential - not unlike many other parts of the state.