It’s a little too easy to get caught up in all the Christmas hype this time of year. If you were from another galaxy and landed here in the middle of December you would conclude Earthlings do nothing but buy stuff in great quantity while bragging they all have the spirit of Christmas. So exactly what is this Christmas thing?
In the PlanetChristmas Forums there’s been a slow burning thread trying to define the Christmas experience and Christmas spirit. Let’s just say a lot of deep thought is happening.
For this edition of the magazine we thought we could summarize the Christmas experience in a paragraph but quickly gave up after reading some of the comments. Instead, here are a few excerpts. We’ve done a bit of editing for better readability in the magazine. Log into the PlanetChristmas forums and add your own. http://forums.planetchristmas.com
To me the Christmas experience is when an older woman from down the street tells my wife she has deep depression but seeing my lights cheers her up so much.
The Christmas experience is when I get a small note on my porch from someone thanking me for the Christmas lights. It’s not a big setup compared to most on here, but I guess it’s enough to touch people during this time of year. That’s enough for me!
I think, to me, the Christmas experience is about the feelings we foster inside the hearts of everyone who comes to see what we create for them.
I had adults marvel over some of the tech, teens who were captivated by the overall ambiance and emotion, and children who completely lit up when it started to snow on them. The experience is individual, but is manifested communally. That is to say, we each get our own slice of heaven, but it’s built in the community.
I think it can be summed up in the enjoyment people get. Last year a lady in a neighborhood behind us left a note in my mailbox saying how much she enjoyed looking at our lights. I do front and back. She said her health had been poor, wasn’t able to decorate and she hoped I kept it up. It actually made me feel really good that I wasn’t just doing it for me because I was starting to question whether all of the work was worth it. Even though I don’t have as big a display as many on here, one thing I take great pride in is that since I moved into our subdivision of 30 homes, more and more neighbors have been decorating.
To me spreading the cheer, warming the hearts, giving to those that may not, and being able to say Merry Christmas to people I may never see again.
When you say “I keep thinking interactivity is the key” yes, I so agree on this one. When I was a kid there was always that one house that felt like Santa’s workshop and I want to be able to do the same. It’s fun watching the adults as well, having fun looking around at the lights, grabbing candy at every turn and wondering how I get the props to move.
I have been doing my displays for about 7 years now and I get to watch the kids grow up. I have people take their Christmas pictures with Santa in front of a setup. Families drive by waiting to see what’s new for the year or stop by in the summer asking questions how to make or fix something in their Christmas display. Just like Eddie said “It’s the gift that keeps on giving, Clark!”
For me it’s about the quest for gifts for my wife. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not about the things but about showing that I listen, care and know her. Past gifts have been hand bound copies of her favorite book, a hand calligraphy version of her favorite sonnet after getting a scan of the only surviving copy from Shakespeare’s time.
It’s of the thoughts and the feelings. My son seems to redefine the Christmas experience every year. He is my inspiration to do what I do. I think the Christmas experience is whatever moves you to get in the Christmas spirit. For some, it’s the local tree lighting or a church’s live nativity. For others it might be driving around to see light displays or Santa. I don’t think you can define it completely. To me the Christmas experience are the memories. The memories I have from Christmases past as well as the ones I create each year with my family and for other families via our display.
Christmas has changed a lot for me over the years, as I’m sure it has for many of you. When I was a kid the experience was being at grandma’s house surrounded by family, waiting for Santa and begging to go Christmas caroling. Grandma, like my mother, has been gone for ten years now. With that the experience changed, a lot. I now live in the South as opposed to Pennsylvania. I have my own family and the experience surrounds my wife’s family and our display.
I think Christmas is really about the experience with loved ones or even strangers. It’s about being able to share a good moment that will last a lifetime. Gifts, food, and all of that also helps create better memories.
Christmas is a celebration of the Creator setting aside his crown to come down and die for each of us. Christmas is all about that phenomenal act of love. I hope that always stays at the center of why we celebrate. But having said that, all the very best of traditions we grew up with, all we pass on and all we get to see our children pass on to theirs in turn, have their place in that celebration, a celebration that has grown so powerful in the affairs of the greatest nations on earth that it has become nothing less than a bellwether of those country’s economic health. The retailers around the world hang on every nuance of how we, the common people, will celebrate that very best of all the year’s Holidays.
Christmas, though not enjoined on Christendom by Holy writ, must surely be most blessed by God Himself, keeping the Lord’s name before all the industrialized world as it does, through that very celebration.
The Christmas Experience… to me a really nice outdoor display adds charm to the season and allows expression of each person’s Christmas experience. Whether you feel the need to be the next great light fight winner (not me) or whether you’re looking to create magic for the children (DEFINITLEY ME!!) it’s all part of the season.
Log into the PlanetChristmas forums and add your own thoughts. http://forums.lightorama.com
This article was included in the November 2015 issue of PlanetChristmas Magazine.
By Sara Kasey