This time of year is my family’s time to shine — literally.
Our house sits on a hill on a narrow street that runs parallel to the main road. Separating these two roads is a small patch of woods, leaving little to no privacy for our cozy abode when the trees lose their leaves. So, my father takes this as a perfect opportunity to create a Christmas lights display that outshines all others.
That way, as drivers rush to their destinations along the main road, they catch a glimpse of all that’s merry and bright.
It’s a big production here at the Silva household. My father and his elves start blasting Christmas music the first weekend of November, my mother makes the hot chocolate, and the guys get on their merry way to put up all of the lights. It takes them anywhere between four to six weekends to arrange the entire display.
But when the big reveal is lit up, it is truly a magical sight. Some even say it rivals Clark Griswold’s house in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” but I don’t want to brag — I’ll let you decide for yourself.
Our house shines brightly as we avoid thoughts of our electric bill in January. But the responses we receive from the locals in our small town make the effort worthwhile.
To the townies, we’re known as “the family on the hill with all the lights at Christmastime.” People venture down our ratchety street to admire the twinkling lights. Many drivers pull over on the main road to soak it in. One mystery family even leaves a note in our mailbox every year to thank us.
While the lights are spectacular, what I love most about this little home of ours is that it encourages people to slow down and savor the moment — a message I neglect too often around the holidays, but one that I desperately need to hear.
My body is feeling ragged these days. The turnover of night shift nurses we’ve been experiencing is disrupting my sleep schedule. I’m nearing the end of another Spinraza (nusinersen) cycle. And the holidays always add a sense of busyness in the air.
Now more than ever, I need to pause, slow down, and rediscover my love for the season instead of stretching myself too thin. I need to admire Christmas lights and the merriment found in this season of joy instead of struggling to keep up. I need to savor this moment.
In the end, that’s all that matters.
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