This is post #5 in the GeneaBloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.
The outdoor Christmas lights that we had growing up, if we had them, were usually pretty understated. In fact, more often that not, it was usually a lighted wreath hung inside a window rather than lights on the eaves and shrubs outside. Back when my dad was alive, he did decorate the shrubs outside our first house with the huge, opaque glass bulbs that used to constitute outdoor Xmas lights. I know my mom loved to look at such strings of lights, when you could find them. They’ve since been fast replaced by the smaller plastic Lite-Brite variety we see today.
Some of my fondest memories are of driving around with my family in the evenings around the holidays to see how others had decorated their homes. Nobody wanted to be “that guy” who went all out, draining the local electrical grid, but you know you wanted to drive by and stare at whoever did. I remember a couple of doozies like that out in Albuquerque, N.M. That is also where someone (not sure if it was the city or a private citizen), would put a huge lighted star up in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains that could be seen from miles around.