The days leading up to Christmas for my family centered around lights. Flashlights, as we fed livestock on winter evenings when going outside after five meant going out in the dark. Headlights, as we stood at the end of our driveway in pre-dawn hours, awaiting the warmth found on the school bus. Starlight, as we looked up at bright, twinkling stars in the blackness of a clear winter sky, untainted by city lights.
A Christmas Eve tradition, though, brought the most anticipated light: Holiday light. Every Christmas Eve, after dark, my family climbed into the car. We’d drive to town to be amazed by the magic of holiday light displays and the creativity the decorators put into them. Santa and his sled on the roof at one house, a Nativity Scene at another, a high-tech routine displaying multiple holiday themes at a third.
We’d go to two, maybe three, towns spending three or four hours together discussing our favorite displays. Soon one of us would nod off, and we’d head for home. Inevitably on the way we’d see a blinking red light in the sky, certainly an aircraft of some sort, but on Christmas Eve, to our young minds, there was no doubt it was Santa on his way delivering gifts.
Years later, with all of my siblings in their 20’s, my family and I still load up in cars on Christmas Eve and drive through the darkness of the countryside to go view those beautiful lights.
We work at the Center to help make memories like these. With your support, we work to bring young families back to rural areas. We help them start new rural businesses and find land to farm. This ensures there are still children in rural areas to help with chores and wait for the school bus.
With your support, we strive to bring renewable energy to rural areas to power those holiday light displays and to make sure those bright stars won’t be dimmed by air pollution.
Rural America is a special place. Memories like these prove it. Your tax deductible gift will help keep it strong. Donate today!
Thank you for reading about my favorite holiday memory. Happy Holidays to you and yours!
Note to Readers: This is the first installment in our new online December series, Our Rural Memories. Throughout the month, Center staff members will share their favorite holiday memories. Within those memories, we’ll introduce Center staff and show you how our work at the Center helps keep memories alive and growing. If you haven’t already, please sign up for our email list in the “Stay Connected” box!