The wonder of Christmas lights

18 Dec
When we were kids, our parents used to take us out at least once every Christmas season to look at the lights in various neighborhoods of St. Paul, Minnesota. We so looked forward to those drives, wondering if the house on Snelling Avenue had the Santa, sleigh and reindeer up again this year (very special in the late 1950s/early 1960s) and marveling at the “rich people’s” houses where there were so many lights you knew they did not have any concerns about electrical bills. Our house always had a few strings of lights, but somehow the other neighborhoods seemed more exotic.
Ahhh, the Milano Duomo and its magnificent tree!

Ahhh, the Milano Duomo and its magnificent tree!

When my son was small I’d do the same thing with him although eventually these viewings became what he called forced marches through neighborhoods in Omaha and Portland as we took to our feet instead of the car. Ric and I have continued the tradition everywhere we’ve lived and traveled, with fond memories of wandering down Peacock Lane & strolling through the Grotto in Portland. In Italy the private dwellings are not the focus, it is the public lighting.
Wednesday night we traveled through Milano, stopping for one night on our way to Paris, and made a point of taking a Christmas Lights Walk. Subtle, like Roma, nothing really garish, but people were out in droves enjoying a crisp-but-not-cold night, taking the kids to see Santa, shopping, and gawking at the tree in Piazza del Duomo.
Adding to the festiveness, a live orchestra was performing in a building overlooking the Piazza del Duomo. Christmas songs done in a swing style with a proper chanteuse singing in slightly accented English (‘Ave you-self a merrrrry little Chris-mas.…) blared out through open windows and over a magnificent sound system. People were paying rapt attention even though one could not see the musicians. It truly was festive!
Click on any photo for a slide show.
I am looking forward to the French experience in Paris where I understand the lighting is far less subtle.

15 Responses to “The wonder of Christmas lights”

  1. Sharon Cinkowski January 4, 2016 at 06:15 #

    Laurel, Thank you for the photos – they are fabulous! I remember Milano and eating lunch on the roof of the Duomo but seeing it dressed in holiday lights is a totally different perspective!! Can’t wait to see your photos of Paris et London.


  2. Susan December 20, 2015 at 23:28 #

    Hey Laurel, Great photos! I remember Galleries Lafayette in Paris had lovely lights the time John and I were there at New Year’s many years ago… bet it’ll still be pretty, and their dome is so beautiful. Have fun!


  3. Sydney Paredes December 20, 2015 at 03:14 #

    Thank you!


  4. Zoe December 19, 2015 at 16:06 #

    I saw the Swarovski tree at the Zurich train station. Baboons Natale has replaced La Befana, it seems.


    • gooddayrome December 19, 2015 at 17:39 #

      Swarovski does a lot of promo. At least it was pretty. We’ll see if La Befana surfaces more after the 25th and leading up to Epifania.


  5. Marcia Kakiuchi December 18, 2015 at 23:33 #

    You are absolutely right with your pics showing the public areas getting quite a holiday dressing versus private homes. How lucky you also to be traveling to the City of Lights for Christmas!!! Keep sending photos.


    • gooddayrome December 19, 2015 at 07:48 #

      Thank you Marcia! We are enjoying unseasonably warm weather in Paris. Walking a lot and taking photos like mad. Just have to find time to deal with them!


  6. Diana December 18, 2015 at 21:38 #

    I was so amazed at the public lighting in Madrid. Lights on every street. Beautiful.


    • gooddayrome December 18, 2015 at 22:08 #

      I loved seeing your pics on FB, too! Makes me want to go to Spain. So many places and so little time!!!


  7. Christine December 18, 2015 at 19:44 #

    Grazie, Laurel, e Buon Natale!


  8. mvaden1948 December 18, 2015 at 19:34 #

    Love the photos. I actually like the Christmas season in Venice during my two Decembers there. In 2013 I scored a ticket to a free concert at La Pieta (Vivaldi’s church) by a local group called Vocal Skyline. They are all Venetian young people and it was me and their families in the audience. The singing was mostly in English (their style was like the TV show Glee without the dancing) and the only time I noticed an Italian accent was when they sang White Christmas. It was an especially memorable evening because it was on my 65th birthday…Dec. 12.
    I’m looking forward to your pictures of Christmas in Paris!
    Buon Natale.
    Michelle….the Venetian wannabe.


    • gooddayrome December 18, 2015 at 22:08 #

      Ciao Michelle and Buon Natale! Anche Buon Compleanno in ritardo! Perhaps next year you can spend Christmas in you wannabe city.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. John Henderson December 18, 2015 at 18:49 #

    Beautiful photos. I’m making a run through Rome tomorrow night. It’s not nearly as gaudy here but Milan is more like the U.S. than Italy.


    • gooddayrome December 18, 2015 at 22:06 #

      Looking forward to your views, John. We certainly did not get to many places before we left town!



  1. Trains, buses, and the Tube | gooddayrome - January 4, 2016

    […] of a way to blog about this trip. You’ve seen plenty of pictures of Christmas lights in Roma, Milano, and Paris (plus blogger John Henderson did a far better job than I ever could about Roma). A […]


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