Don't we all just adore the way our towns and cities glisten with Christmas lights? It's almost as if the stars have descended on us this time of year. How is it that such a twinkling landscape elevates our spirits? And so it is all over the world where the season to be jolly is celebrated.
In New York, thousands marvel at the tree in Rockefeller Center every year. Once I was on a Fifth Avenue bus at dusk and the thoughtful driver proudly slowed down so we could all enjoy the site from the warmth of our seats. The lights had certainly charmed him. In Montreal one year, I marveled at the enormous illuminated wreath on one of the bank buildings. I think it might just take the prize for a decoration of its kind. You can see the wreath and the Noel Bleu display in this delightful video.
I have always felt special being invited to The Tavern on the Green in Central Park during the holidays for their festival of lights, inside and out--an attraction all year long. But at Christmas it seems even more spectacular. All the surrounding trees are outlined in clear lights. I don't know what the future of these displays will be, but The Tavern as we know it will close at the end of this holiday season. Lights will go out in many hearts who have celebrated special occasions beneath the cascade of chandeliers. Things do change, but this is one that many New Yorkers and tourists to the city will lament. But I thank The Tavern here for many happy times. It was like being in a fairy palace at twilight.
But when it come to Christmas lights, it's the ones on our own trees we come to love the most, don't you think? Hitting that switch for the first time is as meaningful to each of us as the tree lightings that go on into town squares all over the country. Think of our forebears putting candles on trees and lighting each one. It's as good a metaphor as any of how time really changes us. One year, when I was editor of Victoria, we were invited to share Christmas with Tasha Tudor. That lady who loved living with the grace of the past had lit candles on her tree--a challenge for our photographer Toshi to capture. (I believe there was a pail of water nearby.) I always remember a phone call from the staff at that session and am still amused that assembled at Tasha Tudor's were Tova, Toshi, and Tricia. When my husband heard me reciting this, he thought his ears were deceiving him. I can say that the results suited our readers to a "T."
One of my favorite Christmas poems is from Christina Rossetti. These lines light my heart:
Love came down at Christmas... Star and angels gave the sign.
We can hope that each light on our horizons is a sign of love. Lights you love? Tell us about them.