Being excited about Christmas isn’t just for the kids. I started wearing my Christmas socks in November.
As the nights grow longer and darker over the festive period, my attention has long been drawn towards the lights that brighten our winter evenings. The pure excitement at strings of twinkling stars and snowflakes that I fostered as a child is yet to escape me.
Growing up, my younger brother and I were exemplary wide-eyed Christmas-fixated children. However, this was not as joyous an experience for my tired parents. For six weeks every year they would wrestle us to bed mid-“Mummy I want a real life reindeer!” “Why don’t we have lights on our windows yet?” and “Let’s watch ‘The Grinch’ again.”
In a move of impressive tact, my parents would drive us into town when it was dark enough to pretend that we were out on a post-bedtime treat.
We’d make our way to one end of the pedestrianized high street and find ourselves finally speechless and agape as we gazed upwards at by what could only be understood by my seven-year-old eyes as a second layer of stars.
From my mum’s exasperated “Go” my brother and I would run. We’d race beneath the twinkling snowflakes, sleighs, bells and horns. At the end of the stretch we would turn around and race back to our parents as we dodged late-night Christmas shoppers.
Sprinting beneath the Christmas lights until we were too tired to pester our parents became an annual tradition for the weeks in the run up to the big day. Exhausted, overwhelmed and fighting sleep, we would be driven home, our parents watching with satisfaction through the rear view mirror as we drifted off.
It’s not Christmas until the lights are turned on. Even the most ordinary of places are transformed into something magical and the lights create an atmosphere that we all, at any age, recognise to be festive.
I still find myself having to control a slight urge to run whenever I pass through a street that is animated with series of seasonal lights. It is safe to say however, that I am just as thrilled for the holidays this year. I have four Christmas light turn-ons behind me, a playlist that would fill the biggest Scrooge with festive spirit and a red Santa hat that will flash relentlessly for the next four weeks.