Visual

Bright Nights

Going toward the light

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Most Decembers, I relish the ritual involved in the unpacking of ornaments and lights in order to festoon a Christmas tree and bring illumination, beauty and creativity to the dark nights indicative of the weeks surrounding the winter solstice. This year, not so much. However, I still unearthed enough seasonal spirit to decorate the nonfunctional pot belly cast iron stove that sits in the corner of our living room as if it were a tree, and have also sought out other sources of light that remind me that—as it has for millennia—the sun will inevitably return.

Last weekend’s wanderings included a Friday night visit to Sedro-Woolley for a dear friend’s “Sparkle Night” party, and it didn’t take long for me to realize that strategically placed lights, plenty of glitter, decorations that are simple yet savvy and holiday-themed cocktails do a whole lot to lift the spirits. After our group of four left the festivities, our driver made it a mission to point his minivan downtown to check out the holiday cheer that is part of the city’s annual Magic of Christmas event. Artfully decorated window displays, an enormous tree smack-dab in the middle of town and backup bling from surrounding neighborhoods had me convinced the Spirit of Sedro is alive and well. More info: http://www.sedro-woolley.com

While walking around downtown Bellingham after dark on Saturday night, I couldn’t help but notice that in addition to the bright snowflakes, strings of tree lights and assorted other decorations that make the urban core jolly this time of year, the Mount Baker Theatre has also gotten in on the illumination action. Then I recalled a press release I’d received in November about a Holiday Tower Lighting event being put on in conjunction with a Dec. 1 showing of A Charlie Brown Christmas. Apparently, the full range of LED lights illuminating the historic tower are here to stay, which means they’ll be making a contribution to the downtown skyline for the foreseeable future—not just during the “most wonderful” time of the year. More info: http://www.mountbakertheare.com

Come Sunday, a post-sunset excursion to Fairhaven netted us views of a dazzling display of lights on countless trees and branches, a giant evergreen sprinkled with magic and a sense that perhaps the darkest time of the year wasn’t so bad, after all. But apparently, the creative display almost didn’t happen this year. The Fairhaven Association didn’t have the funds for its annual Holiday Lighting Display, and local merchants Royal and Diane Reinsch (of Paperboat) appealed to other businesses and the general public for help. First Federal stepped up to the plate to sponsor the festive flair, and other merchants who agreed the waterfront district needed to get its glow on also chipped in. The results are both admirable and inspirational. More info: http://www.fairhaven.com

I haven’t been yet, but The Lights of Christmas at Warm Beach Camp have me thinking that anybody with Seasonal Affective Disorder—or a general bah-humbug attitude—would do well to get themselves to Stanwood, where in addition to the more than one million lights that are shining at the 15-acre locale, there will be activities for kids, live entertainment, music, dinner theater, holiday shopping and more from Dec. 20-23 and again Dec. 26-30. Fees are $11-$16, but if you leave with more seasonal spirit that you came with, it’ll be worth it. More info: http://www.thelightsofchristmas.com

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