favorite christmas activity as a kid: looking at christmas lights. south floridians can go a little overboard with their lights. insane $400-500 power bills. the boat parade. million dollar homes absolutely drenched in millions of tiny, twinkling lights. front yards overrun by cotton batting to simulate snow and railroad sets that would fill a house. i never found such insanity in gainesville, but i'm hopeful to find some here because it makes little kids smile...or big kids who still act like little kids.
in high school, i loved going to tradewinds to drive through the fantasy of lights. junior year, they started a 5K for opening weekend for the spectacle, and i had to keep my senses about me during the race. several girlfriends shared my amazement at the lights. this year, mom told me there would be no lights, which is just as well. i think going to fantasy of lights now would be a letdown without dad's miata to get the full effect. it's just not the same in a plain old car or truck.
no car needed up here for holiday lights in a public place. the national zoo has zoo lights 4 nights a week leading up to christmas. i went tonight with missy. nothing like walking through the zoo, checking out all kinds of cool critters, shivering in pre-winter temps (probably because i had a slurpee in my hand), and admiring light displays that evoke that nostalgia in me. the perfect antidote to the overcommercialization of christmas. the little kids' eyes just plain sparkled at the panda mascot in the snow dome, the lights in motion, and the animals that pushed back their bedtimes just a little bit for their pint-sized visitors. gotta love the season!