There was nothing better to do this time of the year, when Billy, Krissi, and Kenny were little, then to pile into the Ford Taurus station wagon, and drive around Mineola and the surrounding villages and look at what we called “Santa Lights.” That term came into being, because on one of our nights looking at the houses, one of the kids wanted to know why some houses were decorated, and others weren’t. Susie and I creatively informed our 3 little ones that the ones that were decorated had little kids living there, and the lights were so that Santa could more easily find the houses on Christmas Eve. Thus was born the term, “Santa Lights!”
Susie was pregnant with Krissi and Kenny when we moved into the Mineola house, and Billy hadn’t had his 4th birthday yet, so we indeed did have little ones at home in those early years in Mineola, and did our best with Santa Lights! We must have pictures someplace, but in the late 80s and early 90s, years of everyone not having a digital camera in their pocket, the numbers of pictures we have of things like our house decorations are not large. The Mineola house had a front porch, and ours was the site of an annual Christmas portrait! Right in the center, there was a fireplace (a fake fireplace that was in the first house we bought in New Hyde Park, and although never used inside, traveled to Mineola with us) that included a burning fire (well, a nailed together group of logs and a carefully placed flicker bulb which made it look like a roaring fire), which was outlined with lights, and complete with stockings hung from the chimney with care! To one side was a Christmas tree (a fake tree that was a hand me down from my work friend Johnny Donovan) , and one of our porch chairs, that Santa was sitting in (Santa was a plastic type character suit, that was stuffed with newspapers every year). Of course there were presents under the tree, and Christmas music playing from a hidden speaker! To the left of the porch, on the lawn, was an illuminated manger scene complete with a creche I’d made with firring strips! Very fitting we thought for a house that had 3 little Santa recipients in residence!
As the kids got older, and tastes changed, we went from colored lights to all white lights out front, and the fireplace, tree, Santa and the Manger scene morphed into garland and wreaths and lighting up the fence around the house. Things were added and we refined the look as the years went on, and honestly, as we got older and the kids no longer lived with us, we went for ease of decorating too! The last year we decorated the Mineola house was Christmas 2016, before we sold the house after 31 years. Here’s a look at that!
Although we no longer have little kids, and that faithful Taurus station wagon is long gone, we now live down at the beach in Ocean City, and looking at Santa Lights is still a nice way Susie and I like to spend some time at Christmastime! In fact, as I write this, we’ve already made three passes at Ocean City in our Honda CRV to check out the neighbors and their Santa Lights!
Here’s a look at some of our Pennlyn Neighbors…
And here’s what we can see from our front porch.
Here are some of our favorites that we saw around town!
2 thoughts on “Santa Lights”
Oh Frank…thank you for the happy story and /my own private light display! Beautiful!!!
Merry Christmas…may Santa treat you well!
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A wonderful narrative with beautiful photos! I fear that here in the Tirol, the decorations adorning homes are much more sparse than those seen in the US. In that regard, I very much miss walking or driving about in and about towns where I used to live to meet with friends (i.e., East Rockaway, Lynbrook and other towns throughout the area), looking at the wonderful array of lights. Doing so was a central part of our own Christmas celebrations each year.
However, my fondest memories are of visiting with you and your parents at Christmas. I recall being there with you, watching intently as your Dad deftly mounted the long strings of Christmas multi-colored lights on the roof edge along the front of the house. Every few minutes he would ask us how they looked. ItÄs a simple memory, but one that I cherish.
After the lights were up, we all went inside your house which was likewise was so beautifully decorated. I especially remember a tree that I helped to clothe with lights and tons of small glass colored balls. Thereafter we all sat on a couch in your living room, munching goodies and talking about all things from Christmas to their singing experiences at the Met. I adored your folks and will ever be so grateful for being able to share those special Christmases with you and your family.
Our wish is that someday soon you will be able to visit with Susi and me here in the Tirol at Christmas time; we are certain you would love it and it would be a great joy for us to be your hosts here.
Wishing you and your family a blessed Christmas season and as we say here, a ‘Guten Rutsch’ (easy slide) into the New Year!
Much love from your friends in the Tirol,
– Andy and Susi
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