Up next, the lights from the great state of New Hampshire. The most impressive part of this light show, wasn’t actually the lights. It was the fact that, feeling our complacency with the “same-old-same-old” light display, my dad logged onto the computer and researched a new light display nearby. Impressive.
So after visiting our tried and true spots, we drove to the neighboring town to see if this new light display was really that good.
Yup, it was. That is, unless you suffer from seizures. Then it probably wasn’t good for you at all.
Another one of the Brethauer Christmas traditions is to go and look at Christmas lights. Over the years we have driver to many different areas around our town. Sadly, the past four of five years, have pretty much been the same exact houses (something which Matt reminds me every year since these are the only years he has been included in the tradition). Well this year, BOTH sets of parents stepped it up. And boy was I impressed.
First up, the Englehardts. Christmas light viewing is nothing something Matt grew up doing. They were more a “go to the movies on Christmas” type of family. Thankfully, they have welcomed many of my crazy traditions into their lives. So when Matt’s mother announced that she has a surprise adventure planned, I was psyched. We drove to the town of Millis, MA a neighboring town to where Matt grew up. Unfortunately, about 2,000 other people had the same surprise adventure in mind and we ended up waiting for over an hour in traffic. During this time we enjoyed some quality family bonding time with the Boston Pops concert playing in the background. When we finally pulled up enough to see the lights, we all realized the wait was well worthwhile.
Every year, a local businessman, Kevin Meehan puts on a display to top all displays in his family’s home. What started as a small family project has become a Winter Wonderland, acres upon acres lit from top to bottom, which includes 45+ workshops where all of Santa’s friends, family and elves are preparing for the coming holiday, a real tugboat, and Santa himself sitting 40 feet tall. The display is free for all to experience, but friends and family of Mr. Meehan collect donations for the Salvation Army along the route (a nice touch in my mind).
Mr. Meehan owns a large auto dealership, so the display included some of the new trucks and cars that might be on folks’ Christmas Lists. Hey, a little self-promotion never hurt anyone. Or did it?
As mentioned in my previous blog post, Keeping Up With the Joneses, scouting out good Christmas lights is a holiday tradition for our family. Unfortunately, we haven’t found too many new locations over the years – I thought that the “Electronic light finder” app would help us out but sadly the only locations that were tagged were more than 30 minutes away and we just aren’t that dedicated to the cause anymore.
However, on Christmas Eve we did a drive around our neighborhood and then hit up the two main “go-to” houses in our town. I think these light displays certainly compete on the same level as Paul Tudor Jones. I mean, he doesn’t have taxidermied reindeer, does he?
Growing up one of our holiday traditions was to drive around the surrounding towns looking for spectacular Christmas light displays. Over the years, we have discovered various houses decorate with lights, led displays and holiday figurines. There is even one house in our town that features the most life-like reindeer pulling Santa’s sled – we soon learned that these look so life-like because they are real Reindeer and the person who lives in the house is a taxidermist! Only in NH…
Last night Matt and I took the train out to Greenwich, Connecticut to visit our friends Laura and Sam. And while we certainly enjoyed spending time with them our real reason for the trip was to see the Christmas light display set up at the home of Paul Tudor Jones.
Paul is a hedge fund manager who founded Robin Hood back in 1988. He is an incredibly generous and caring person and I consider myself extremely lucky to work at a place that carries out his vision. He gave a very moving speech at one of our events about a month ago – feel free to watch is here.
Every year, the Jones family spreads a little (or some may say, a lot) of holiday cheer with their Christmas light display. And we’re talking more than lining the roof and windows with lights… Off-duty police officers direct traffic around the sprawling light display, allowing drivers to line up eight at a time in front of Jones’ 13,000-square-foot home on a waterfront cul-de-sac. A soundtrack synchronized to the thousands of flashing lights plays over the radio, creating a show that lasts nearly five minutes long.
Before dinner, Sam and Laura drove us through the magical display – let me tell you, it did not disappoint!
This is a tradition that was started back in 2000 and every year the show has become more elaborate. I’ve included video from 2010 below.
So while I am sure some people will criticise Paul for spending a large amount of money every year on his Christmas light display, I am thankful. It is hard not to smile as you drive by his house. Thank you for preserving the spirit and magic of the season!