http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2012/12/14/magical-time-of-the-year


Pleasanton Weekly

News - December 14, 2012

Magical time of the year

Holidays light up our lives when skies may be gray

The holidays are a time for all of us to be children again -- if you're not feeling the spirit, you may need a "kid fix." Parents and grandparents get them all the time, the pleasure of observing children as they anticipate the coming of Christmas and Hanukkah.

What's not for children to like in the holiday season? Fun decorations, special foods, gifts, both giving and receiving. Spending more time with family and relatives. A break from school and other routines.

Seeing Santa can be exciting or terrifying, embarrassing or boring, depending on the age of the child. But almost everyone enjoys the magic of the holidays created by decorated homes and shops at this time of year.

Christmas lights and decorations probably follow the tradition of bringing trees into the home and lighting candles to relieve the dreariness of winter. In ancient times during Winter Solstice time, people burned large bonfires to "lure" the sun back. Later, Christians saw the symbolism of putting up lights as a sign that Jesus is the light of the world.

Prior to electricity, and way before rooms began to twinkle 24/7 with bright little lights indicating the cable box and other devices were doing their jobs, people would put lighted candles on their windowsills to help travelers find their way. Of course children wanted to use candles on Christmas Eve to show St. Nick they were waiting for him.

Outdoor Christmas lights have grown in popularity over the last few generations, but the practice still raises questions for novices: When do you put up your Christmas lights? And how do you put up your Christmas lights? The best tip around, whether for a tree or the outside of the house, is to plug them in and make sure they work before you string them up.

Whether you light up the outside of your home or not, your children can enjoy the lights all over Pleasanton and beyond as enthusiasts get into the spirit of the season. Take a walk downtown to enjoy the city's big holiday tree in front of the Museum on Main, 603 Main St. Or visit www.lightsofthevalley.com to find local lavish displays.

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