Lights, Lights, And More Lights Our House Can Never Be Bright Enough

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As the holiday season approaches, the memories of Christmases past flood my mind. If I were to describe the essence of preparing our house for Christmas, it would boil down to one word: lights. The joy that holiday lights bring is the core of our family’s holiday tradition. But let’s start from the beginning, back when my two kids, who are now in college, were much younger.

“Whether it’s stringing up the lights, seeing our family, or a combination of both, it’s all about brightening the season. And for us, the brighter, the better.”

Every year, my wife and I engage in a ritualistic debate about our Christmas tree. I favor a towering, “majestic” wide based specimen, while my wife prefers a shorter, thinner tree that would fit more comfortably in our family room. We’ve never quite seen eye-to-eye on this, but the discussions have become an inseparable part of our Christmas experience. Sadly, we eventually transitioned to an artificial tree due to our family’s mold allergies. But on the bright side, it’s a size that’s reasonably close to what we both love — a win-win!

The process of stringing lights, my annual duty, truly brings our tree to life. One memorable year, when my son was very young, I showed him how to throw a tennis ball into the bare Christmas tree. It was fun until my wife reminded me of the potential ornament casualties that would soon follow. She had a point! But it’s the lights that are my true passion. I go overboard, sometimes wrapping as many as 1,800 lights around our tree. The technique I use is to squint at the tree. If I see any gaps, I know where to add more lights.

Our families’ fascination with lights continues outdoors as we drive around neighborhoods to view Christmas lights. One home, where their entire house and all their trees and scrubs were totally covered in white lights remains a favorite. When my son first saw it, his reaction to our home lights was, “We’re going to need a lot more Christmas around here.” Challenge accepted!

Living in Northern Virginia offers us many options to continue our luminary obsession. One local favorite is the Bull Run Festival of Lights, a drive-through display of lights, but remember they charge by the car so stuff yourselves in tight. There’s also WinterFest at Kings Dominion, where the park’s Eiffel Tower turns into a sparkling Christmas tree.

Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights in Vienna, Virginia is another gem. It’s a half-mile walking tour in a botanical garden illuminated for the holiday season. One cool feature is a section of their displays where the lights respond to your singing. My son and I couldn’t resist singing, and neither could the crowd around us.

The central location of both my family and my brothers’ family allows us to host yearly Christmas get-togethers. However, we were restricted during the COVID-19 pandemic, so we’re looking forward to resuming our regular traditions. Northern Virginia is generally the central gathering point for our extended family coming in from Maine, North Carolina, California, Holland, and England. We so enjoy each other’s company and share the love, perfectly lit by the glow of Christmas lights.

So, this holiday season, we’re geared to enjoy our traditions, old and new. Whether it’s stringing up the lights, seeing our family, or a combination of both, it’s all about brightening the season. And for us, the brighter, the better.


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Renowned for his commitment to enhancing your eyelid and facial appearance while prioritizing your safety. Dr. Scott is board-certified in Ophthalmology and has specialized fellowship training in Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.  With extensive training at prestigious institutions, including the Medical College of Virginia, Manhattan Eye, Ear, & Throat Hospital, and the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Dr. Scott brings a wealth of expertise to his craft. His accolades, including recognition as a Top Plastic Surgeon by Northern Virginia Magazine, underscore his dedication to excellence. Dr. Scott's passion lies in helping you achieve the best aesthetic results while safeguarding your eyesight.

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