One of the things we loved to do as a family each December back home in New Zealand was to wander around the various streets that were entered in the Christmas light extravaganza competitions. In the Hutt Valley, there was the occasional street that did this well, but normally there were only very small pockets of houses that would go all out with Christmas lights.
Sadly, in the last couple of years and as the financial down-turn hit families, the participation in these competitions have dwindled somewhat.
One of the things we were excited to see, was how the Americans would do Christmas lights on their houses. In movies and television shows, dressing up houses in Christmas lights was often portrayed as being a big thing, so we wondered if that was true or not.
Last night was Family night, so after making the now traditional Friday night trek to Menchies, we headed off to neighboring Saugus to see a particular street there we had heard about – Wakefield Court. We knew we hit the right street because of the mass of cars trying to go down or park nearby.
We weren’t quite ready for what we saw. It was magnificent. A huge Christmas light banner saying ‘Wakefield Winter Wonderland’ hung above the street entrance. Almost every house was massively lit up and decorated. Christmas light chains were strung from house to house over the street. This was amazingly effective.
There were residents in their driveways with their braziers lit, some of the residents were playing music (a couple with bands), giving out candy canes or just sitting outside enjoying the people coming through. All of these things created a real carnival atmosphere and we enjoyed it immensely.
Picture do not do the event justice. You have to see it!
There is also a nice little story behind the wonderland. Apparently, the tradition was
borne out of disaster when the residents in the street had supported each other following the big earthquake of 1994.
I like stories like that.