There is a house in our neighbourhood that is just…no other word to describe it…spectacular. It is on a massive corner lot and is known as “The Mayor’s House” due to its history, and every year the owner puts up the most amazing Christmas light display.
The first December that I noticed it, I raced home to get Ian and by the time we got back to the house they had been turned off…and off they stayed for weeks. “Karyn’s imaginary Christmas lights” became a running joke and I endured weeks of teasing before I finally dragged him over to the house in the daylight to triumphantly point out the thousands of tiny LED bulbs scattered over the many trees and shrubs on the property.
They finally turned on again for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and for the next 11 months we mused over whether this was going to be a yearly tradition – Was this incredible display meant to be a secret known only to those select few who happened to drive by on one of the three days it was randomly turned on?
Happily, the following year and those subsequent have seen the lights on far more frequently! I’m afraid the pictures really don’t do it justice because it’s impossible the capture the extent of the display in one shot, but all of the trees and shrubs on the property are strung with tiny LED lights in all different colours, the eaves of the multi-peaked roof are hung with white lights, the two large driveway gates are adorned with huge pine wreaths, and one tall pine tree by the house is decorated with baubles and ribbons. Above it all shines a large star, seemingly suspended in mid-air but in reality mounted on a pole atop the tallest tree. When driving up the hill from downtown, all you can see is that single star suspended in the sky and the effect is truly breathtaking.
Needless to say, Ben and Molly are pretty enamoured of the whole display, and throughout the Christmas season any time we came home in the dark the anticipatory conversation took place: “Do you think the lights are going to be on?” “I hope so!” “I love those lights!” “I see the star!” “Yay, the boo-ti-ful lights are on!” We have been talking a lot this season as a family about the idea of gratitude and Ben is a big fan of thank-you notes, so when he suggested that he could write a thank-you card to the owner of the house with the lights, I agreed that it was an excellent idea (Woo-hoo! Voluntary practice for my reluctant printer!), and away he went.
The finished letter, Ben’s original composition, read:
Thank you for the beautiful lights.
Me and my sis love to look at them when we drive by.
Do you use a remote to turn them on?
From Ben and Molly
When he was finished, we folded the letter into a Christmas card, walked down to the house, and dropped it in the mail box. Who knows if we will get a reply, but Ben was very proud of himself and hopefully he brightened someone’s day!
PS – Readers who are Angie Nussey fans should have this song in their heads by now and readers who are not yet Angie Nussey fans should definitely check her out!
How do you feel about thank-you cards? Do you write them? Do you expect them?
I like thank-you notes when it’s random and unexpected (Ben’s idea was delightful and will no doubt bring a smile to someone). I think they are a complete waste of paper when they are expected, especially when the person doesn’t take the time to make them personal. I think a simple verbal thank-you is much more personal than an expensive card in that case.
I absolutely HATED writing them as a kid. As an adult, I read my Emily Post from cover to cover and she agrees with you – thank you notes are only required if you can’t thank someone in person, but in person or by phone is always preferable!
Ben I am very proud that you took the time to patiently write out a wonderful letter to your neighbour! Kudos to you Karyn for encouraging your children to find purposeful ways to practice printing and what a wonderful surprise for the neighbours when they peek in their mailbox. I truly hope you get a reply. Miss. Heather