The true beginning of Christmas for me every year is marked by the Somerville Arts Council Illumination Tour. The Arts Council gets together a bunch of trolleys to take folks on a tour of the awesome Christmas light displays in Somerville. It's a pretty big deal locally and everyone gets really into it. The tickets go on sale at Blue Cloud Gallery a couple of weeks before the tour and you have to get there right when they open in order to get on an early trolley. This year I managed to run up there during lunch so we snagged the LAST four tickets on a 4:30 trolley. Success!
The Tour takes place the weekend before Christmas - this year it was the same day as Lily's birthday party. Having just finished the birthday festivities it really felt like the Illumination Tour opened up the Christmas festivities. Finally we had all the other celebrating behind us and could just hang around since Jingle Bells while stuffing Christmas cookies in our mouths. (okay, so maybe we still had to BAKE said cookies, but whatever, we'll get to it).
We've done the tours four years in a row now - the first time was when Lily had just turned one. This year was Quinn's first tour -last year he was feeling a little under the weather, so Gordon stayed home with him while I took Lily. The tour doesn't change that much from year to year but I still love doing it. I get all misty-eyed when the tour guide talks about the 70 year old guy who builds all his decorations by hand in his downstairs woodshop. Or the couple from the Azores who have been decorating their house for 30+ years. Old the 70 year old man (yeah, they're all about that age in my memory) who decorates his house as well as those of his daughters next door and across the street. I usually have to actively wipe my eyes when the proud home-owners show up on their porches waving at the trolley. I'm such a sucker for adorable, holiday, community, happy stuff.
Running to check out the awesome tree at City Hall before the tour:
Gratuitous picture of cute pre-schooler and giant silver ornament
The gorgeous wreath at City Hall
The lights are hard to capture on film - but our intrepid photographer was right there anyway! Here are a few of the shots that he managed to get. After decorating a SINGLE deck rail with icicle lights this year I am just in awe of how much work these displays must be. Perhaps some day Lily will be proud of our house too ;)