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Christmas traditions shine brightly around town

Traditions are the thread and fabric that help bind one generation to another.

And, while all traditions are important, perhaps there are none more important than those at Christmas.

Christmas traditions seem more special, more magical, and more important.

While the Speer home has several special traditions at Christmas, we especially enjoy the annual trip through area neighborhoods to view the outdoor holiday displays. What at one time years ago was merely the large, multi-colored strings at various homes has evolved over the years into inflatable sculptures, projected screen displays, and synchronized light and audio shows.

Christmas and lights seem to go hand-in-hand.

And, from one year to the next, the displays seem to grow bigger and better.

Today’s lights are energy-efficient LEDs. Many displays are connected to computers to ensure every little detail of a display is not overlooked. And, if there was a foot of space not utilized in last year’s presentation, you can almost rest assured it will be covered this year.

Take, for instance, the Muszynski residence on Washington Avenue here in the city.

While, for years, they have delighted neighbors with Christmas lights and inflatables, this year, the family took decorations to a whole new height — literally! Two huge evergreens in their front yard now are decked out from tip to toe with lights, making for a display you can literally see from miles away.

Several blocks down the road, as you head toward town on Washington, is one of the outdoor displays synchronized to music, which makes for a dazzling display of bright strobes and flashing displays of Christmas favorite illuminations.

For those who like to enjoy a little drive, a reader shared with us that a display on Karol Street in Presque Isle is worth seeing. Karol Street heads off to the right toward Grand Lake as you take US-23 N., right before the Daily Limit Bar.

Closer to town, you might want to check out South 3rd Avenue, where several nice display await you, and, while heading that way, don’t forget to drive through North Street, where residents always join together to put together a beautiful display to share with residents.

And, finally, if you are out Christmas Eve and love the simple beauty of a magical winter night, my family always makes a loop through Barrington Circle and Kensington Court for a simple yet beautiful display of luminaries.

Residents there band together to give visitors a stunning display of lights that, with snow on the ground, make for a memory that won’t soon be forgotten.

As Sharon Johnston shared recently, “Maybe just a nice drive looking at someone’s hard work at putting out some holiday decorations might bring joy to some people.”

Traditions are meant to be shared.

In a year when COVID-19 has disrupted all our lives, let’s not let it ruin bundling the kids up and into the car for a drive around the region to enjoy the holiday beauty of lights.

Bill Speer can be reached at 989-354-3111, ext. 311, or bspeer@thealpenanews.com. Follow him on Twitter @billspeer13.

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