Where are the Christmas lights? Where are all the Xmas lights on the houses and apartments in every town, countryside and city in this country?
Where are they?
What has happened to the old traditions of lighting up your home and your yard?
To my eye, there is a sharp drop in Xmas decorations and lights on American homes and apartments this year. Am I alone in thinking this? Do others agree with me on this?
A 2021 3,000 person YouGov poll showed that 43% of American households put up outdoor lights during the Christmas season. But it varies by region: Americans who live in the West (56%) and South (53%) are more likely than people in the Northeast (40%) and Midwest (35%) to say they usually decorate their yard or the exterior of their home.
I have no current data to back up my finding that Xmas lights are no where near as prevalent as they have been in the past. However, I do have some anecdotal evidence. When I was in Florida this past Thanksgiving weekend my sister Judy and I drove around her neighborhood near the city of Stuart. We counted the number of homes that had Xmas lights up in their yard, or on their trees or hedges, or strung up on their windows.
Only one (1) home in every 50 homes (2 %) had lights up and shining brightly. Eeegad, I said to myself. This is terrible!
I love the lights of Christmas. They are so important to not only celebrating the special holiday but also for the joy they bring to every human being seeing them. just imagine what bright and beautiful Xmas lights can do for a young child. Just imagine how Xmas lights can enhance an older person’s day as they walk or drive by. The lights of Christmas can be so uplifting. They add a brightness to the night that extends into the day.
The lights of Christmas are particularly important this year as we come out of two plus dark years of Covid. The pandemic has taken its toll on everyone. Tragically over 1 million Americans have lost their lives. Thousands more have suffered through the illness. Almost everyone has been affected in some way. At a minimum we have all felt some sadness and disorientation as a result of the pandemic.
All the more reason to shower our homes with bright lights!
Yes, I know there are some arguments for why homes are not lit up. Some say that they are saving on electrical use. They want to save electricity. Some may be concerned about the cost of the lights and the electricity needed. Others may say that it is too early to put up Xmas lights. More will be put up but closer to Christmas. Believe it or not, a recent survey indicated that 3% of homeowners put up their Xmas lights on Christmas Day. Others are concerned about possible fire risk. There may be other reasons too.
My feeling is that Christmas lights should be up for months, beginning in late September. in fact, why not have them up all year round. A recent survey by House Method of 4,000 homeowners showed that 4% of the homes keep their lights up year round.
If they can make one child smile; if they can make one elderly person feel a little bit better; If they can help a parent pause during the day and reflect on how precious their lives are and the lives of their kids. If any of these things can happen as a result of seeing wonderfully beautiful lights illuminating the darkness, then to me it is worth doing. Bottom line, Xmas lights make you feel happier.
Psychologist Deborah Serani stated on TODAY Home that “Christmas decorating will spike dopamine, a feel-good hormone; it will lift your mood.”
Psychoanalyst, Steve McKeown, in an interview also added: “In a world full of stress and anxiety people like to associate to things that make them happy and Christmas decorations evoke those strong feelings of childhood. Decorations are simply an anchor or pathway to those old childhood magical emotions of excitement. So putting up those Christmas decorations early extends the excitement!”
I follow their advice and my own feelings. For years I have strung a connected series of white lights along a 80’ long Ficus hedge.
I keep them up for 6 months of the year. They bring a smile to my face every time I look at them. They are festive. They reflect the holiday spirit. They brighten my nights for sure.
Thank God for Christmas lights!