Lights brighten up others lives

The days are getting longer and those of us who don’t head south to the sun try much harder to be nice to each other.

There is so much to like about Christmas. The days are getting longer and those of us who don’t head south to the sun try much harder to be nice to each other.

I am an agnostic, but find myself making an extra effort to support programs run by various religious institutions, and many others of ambiguous spirituality like mine do the same.

It adds up to feeling good – happier, warmer, if you like – and makes the community seem like a community.

The Smoke Eater turnout for the Salvation Army, Communities in Bloom’s upgrade of the city’s appearance, all the not-business-as-usual stuff that happens around the holiday season and that friends make an effort to be in touch all add a little joy to life.

I particularly enjoy Christmas lights. We never spend a season without driving through the valley and pausing at Hamer’s. The effort and artistry put into that tableau is amazing, and heartwarming.

Many other families also put in the time (and money) to dress up the world – for their own and others’ sakes, and I appreciate them all whether I can get around to see the results up close or not.

We make an effort, as well, even though there is very little traffic past our place. It isn’t on the grand scale that Hamer’s present, but the neighbours and their visitors seem to enjoy it.

The not-so-secret behind it, as with most other families who work out in the cold to brighten up their community, is that we make the effort, and spend the money, because we enjoy doing it and like the effect it has on our drab winter yard during drab winter days.

The pleasure it brings others is really just the dessert – a little added ingredient to the satisfaction we reap from putting in the time to make our little corner brighter (I can read the paper on my deck just with the candle power from the display).

Fewer light up their homes, at least on the outside, these days than in the past, and that’s okay.

Just know that those of you who do brighten your neighbourhoods are much appreciated in every quarter.

You can increase the positive effect these displays have. Just make a little time available and assist someone who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to see them and experience the pleasure it brings..

The wish list is brief.

We want for you, and ourselves, good health and the ability to afford what we need to be safe and reasonably happy.

It’s been a tough year in many quarters and the need for the warmest season of the year is greater than ever. Spread a little warmth around, that’s the best way of ensuring you get to take some in.

Merry Christmas.