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The jolly season starts now – let’s light it up

in Glocal/Places to see by

Ok. I’ll admit it. I miss the Christmas bling – all those lights. I was talking to a German friend who had been in NYC and he agreed that it’s very different here. One day I’d like to see New York at Christmas.

2013 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, Photo credit: Anthony Quintano via Visual Hunt / CC BY
2013 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree,
Photo credit: Anthony Quintano via Visual Hunt / CC BY

I grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina. As a kid I remember getting in the car and going downtown to see the decorations. The tree was on top of an overpass of some kind. I just remember looking up with excitement as we drove under it. I have still never been to the Singing Christmas Tree.

The Singing Christmas Tree. 2 hours of wondrous song each year by the Carolina Voices.
The Singing Christmas Tree. 2 hours of wondrous song each year by the Carolina Voices.

You may be surprised to know that not everyone has lights on their houses. Well, except for everyone in McAdenville, that is. One year we went to see the lights. It was about an hour away from Charlotte. We sat on the interstate for hours before we could finally get into town.

It’s a small town, basically one main street. Each year since 1956, locals have been in a community effort to light up the town for Christmas. At first this spread by word of mouth, and people started coming to see the lights. In 1993, it was officially declared Christmas Town, USA.

Now 600,000 go to see the more than half a million lights each year!

Founded in 1881, McAdenville keeps its original flavour. It started and remains a cotton town. When I went, the mill paid everyone’s light bill for the month of December. I hope that’s still the case.

Today, they will light the whole place up, and they will keep it lit for 26 nights.

That’s McAdenville: all lit up with old school charm just like I remember.

And then there’s something that’s happened while I’ve been living abroad, so I can only watch on you tube. I know, I know. Excess is highly frowned upon, but I just can’t help it. Somehow I love a Christmas Light Fight. (you must watch)!

Suddenly I feel like the season has now officially begun. As I come home each night, I’m glad my downstairs neighbours have their lights up in their windows like they do each year. It makes me feel welcome somehow. Maybe I’ll get some lights this year too.

I leave you with this little thought right here (last one for now, I promise)…

Maeshelle West-Davies gleans her varied life experiences to expose a personal perspective through a multitude of mediums. Sound, video, photography, dance, performance and public art are the tools she uses to convey her message. Her work is a response not only to a physical journey, but an emotional one, as with all of us who walk along or beside our individual paths.

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