Help Parents Age Well With a Night Drive to See the Holiday Lights


The Joy of Holiday Lights

Christmas decorations make streets look festive, homes look welcoming. At night they can transform the ordinary into something uplifting and magical.

Last night I went to dinner with an 89-year-old friend (former colleague). Remembering my drive to look at the lights last year at this time, I asked–after dinner–if she would enjoy a short drive to look at homes decorated with Christmas lights before going home.  Her “yes, if it’s not too much trouble for you” was typical of her considerate style. She had never seen these homes decorated for Christmas at night, yet the streets we travelled were less than 10 minutes from her apartment.

In a world of unrest and uncertainty the colors and twinkling of the holiday lights on homes seem–in a way– protective, signaling all is well within. And so I tried–and successfully found–the same streets as last Christmas eve. And we were rewarded as we drove slowly–block after block. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

My friend’s macular degeneration necessitated her no longer driving–as of a month ago. I know she loved seeing the lighted displays but I’m not certain she had the “best seat in the house.”

At times I felt my position in the driver’s seat blocked some of her view. I was conflicted as to whether I should drive up one side of the street and down the other in deference to her vision problems. I decided to go slowly, pointing out things and stopping in places where I thought she would have an unobstructed view–not blocked by my driver’s seat position.

I remembered last year, climbing out of my car into the black, frigid night to snap these pictures. I could glimpse party-goers within, hear dogs barking to signal a stranger approaching, and realize some home owners had turned in for the night but left their colored lights glowing warmly in the yard.

Standing outside on the edge of their frozen property I wondered if anyone realized the pleasure their displays provide. I wondered how many of us drive out of our way to look at the lights; then wondered: Do we take our spouses and our children to enjoy the lights?  Do we ever think of taking an aging parent, relative, or friends?

And so this year, I did just that. And my friend couldn’t say “thank you” enough times.

Help Parents Age Well With a Drive in the Dark–After Christmas

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge


Christmas decorations make streets look festive, homes look welcoming. Especially at night, they transform the ordinary into something uplifting and magical. In a world of uncertainty and unrest, the colors and twinkling of the holiday lights on homes seem–in a way– protective, signaling all is well within.  And so it was comfortable for me to take a drive around my town last night to view the holiday lights. 

After a wonderful Christmas eve party that included many little ones, representing the 3rd and 4th generations of a 96-year-old and his 87-year-old wife, I decided to extend the festive feeling by taking a detour on the way home to see lighted Christmas decorations on streets I rarely travel.

While the decorations are amateur, compared to the extravaganza we’ve seen in the Phoenix, Arizona area, they showcase the hard work and commitment of families to enhance their homes, yards, and neighborhood–a laudable goal and certainly appreciated.

As I climbed out of my car into the black, frigid night to snap these pictures (wearing non-sensible shoes), I could glimpse party-goers within, hear dogs barking to signal a stranger approaching, and realize some home owners had turned in for the night but left their colored lights glowing warmly in the yard.

Standing outside on the edge of their frozen property, I wondered if anyone realized the pleasure their displays provide. I wondered how many of us drive around to look at the lights; then wondered do we take our spouses and our children to enjoy the lights?  Do we ever think of taking an aging parent, relative, or friend?

I’m sharing some of last night’s pictures here. Perhaps you’ll be inspired as I am–to take a senior out for a drive after dark–before the year ends and the decorations come down.

Many seniors don’t drive at night. They often don’t even get out at night. Here’a an opportunity for a change of everyday scenery that adds interest to their lives, fills the after-Christmas void, and once again contributes to helping parents, grandparents, and those we care about age well.