Twelve Days of Christmas Traditions: Six Cars of Singers

Once our stomachs were full of Kentucky Fried Chicken Mom's wings and homemade potato salad, it was time to pack the Lambson van and head out into the sprawling metropolis that was is Columbia is trying to be.

Like this, only with people. Unrelated question: who packs a loaf of bread
with the duffel bags and not in a cooler/protective container?

The reason for this allegedly planned mobile madness? Why, to look at Christmas lights whilst belting out Christmas songs, of course! We'd drive around town, looking at the decorations various residents put up for the holiday while singing everything from "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" to "Silver Bells" to "Angels We Have Heard on High." We'd take turns choosing the song, then roll out the four-part harmony (I always sang bass, despite my obvious baritone voice, because Dad always usurped the tenor line). And yes, we sang "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing" twice to accommodate both the American accent and the not-so-greatly-imitated Cockney version (Day 8 will provide an explanation).

It wasn't always as loud or fun as this, but it always got close.

These were the days before Google maps, but our route was planned well. We'd start in some corner of the city and make a quasi-circuitous route from neighborhood to neighborhood, visiting the places we knew would have a great display and admiring everything in between. There's the child care center on Ballenger Lane with a one-acre yard chock full of all kinds of decorations (there's a duplex across the road trying to match it and doing a decent job). There's this house, just a tad up the street from where Tamara and I live:

This HAS to make the list of annual stops.

There's the house in Woodridge tastefully bedecked in white lights (that no longer lights up as it once did, per last year). There's Columbia College, always a classy Christmas look:

The debate centers on whether they take the lights down each year.

There's the home in the Highlands area that puts up all kinds of stuff and collects money from passing drivers (not all of whom are singing like we are) and donates the proceeds to charity. Then, there's the Magic Tree:

This photo in no way does this tree justice.

You're looking at more than 10,000 LED lights wrapped around every possible inch of that tree. It's absolutely wondrous to behold, and never fails to draw big crowds. The crowds got so big, in fact, that the owner had to move the display from his tiny just-outside-the-city-limits road to the Cherry Hill plaza in west Columbia, better able to handle heavy traffic. Like the Highlands house mentioned above, the owner takes donations for charity.

There's even a supplemental tree downtown.

We've had to adjust this tradition over the years, mainly because no one in the family has a car large enough to fit everyone who wants to go, forcing us to split up. That, and for some not everyone wants to be out all hours of the night looking at lights and singing in bad British accents.

Toward the end, we're all ready to go home so this is pretty much how
 every house looks.


Beckie said…
Probs the tradition I will miss most. Kyle and I will drive around and sing, but there will be no four part harmony, nor a route guaranteed to entertain. Enjoy it, those who chose to partake!
Peeser said…
You know, since I may still be up when you're ready to drive and look at lights, feel free to call and I'll add my voice via phone! ;)

As I have said before, you will be missed. But I'm glad you and Kyle are going to do it your own style!

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