It Really Said Christmas
By Laurie Parker

There's something my family does once a year
That brings us together and fills us with cheer.
A Christmas tradition in which we all share
Is riding 'round looking at lights everywhere.
It's always a treat when we pile in the car
And drive around looking at homes near and far.
Yard decorations and greenery and lighting
Can transform our town into something exciting.
We marvel at festive displays that are done.
We vote on our favorites. We really have fun!
We carried on this year with that same routine,
And there were some grand Christmas sights to be seen.
A house one street over from us was real bright.
Everything on it was outlined in light--
The roof and the windows, the railing and door--
Stringing them up must have been quite a chore!
These folks had the spirit and it surely showed.
It really said Christmas the way their house glowed.
The very next home that we slowed down to see
Had lights that were flung in a crepe myrtle tree.
A chicken wire reindeer was standing beneath.
Their door had red foil and a big fancy wreath.
Some neighbors just on the next block had worked hard.
They'd stationed their boat right smack-dab in their yard.
And propped up inside was a fat, joyful soul--
Santa Claus! Holding a cane fishing pole!
Santa gone fishing! I think that's a hoot!
It really said Christmas, 'cause it was so cute.
The next house is where Mama cried, "Look at those!"
Someone had simply gone wild with red bows.
It seemed there were bows every place there could be--
The columns…the mailbox…the trunk of a tree…
Bows on a birdbath…a golf cart…a gate…
My dad counted thirty. I got twenty-eight.
A large happy snowman that moved side to side
Was one of the highlights of this season's ride.
Beside a magnolia, it swayed to and fro.
A speaker nearby played the song, "Let It Snow."
This mechanized snowman was such a delight.
It really said Christmas--all merry and bright.
A stylish estate is the place where we saw
A breathtaking sight of which we were in awe.
The curtains were open to show off a tree.
We oohed and we aahed. It was something to see!
Fully adorned and at least ten-feet tall,
This tree was a vision enjoyed by us all.
Not too far from there, just a couple of blocks,
We spotted a colorful jack-in-the-box.
A bold neon character giving a wink,
It blinked on and off. Red and green. Blue and pink.
We stopped by a well-landscaped lot to enjoy
A gingerbread house and a gingerbread boy.
With glittering candy canes stuck in the ground,
And twinkly white lights in the trees all around,
This charming arrangement was holiday art
That really said Christmas to children at heart.
At the house on the corner of Main Street and Third,
I saw something lovely and learned a new word.
Small paper sacks were set out in a row.
A candle lit up in each one made it glow.
"They're called luminaries," my sister explained.
She said they stayed put 'cause of sand they contained.
I liked how they flickered. I liked how they glimmered.
They really said Christmas the way that they shimmered.
In one subdivision, we got a big kick.
We saw him a second time--good ol' Saint Nick.
And you'll never guess what was pulling his sled--
Not reindeer, but eight pink flamingos instead!
Another amusing display we took in
Was a huge wooden cow with a whimsical grin.
It really said Christmas. Do you wonder how?
It wore reindeer antlers! Of all things! A cow!
A residence right up the road was decked out
With garlands of green, neatly draped all about.
Some people had fun doing this. You could tell.
They'd trimmed an old pickup truck parked there as well.
It looked very festive like cedar or holly.
It really said Christmas because it was jolly.
Set out on a side screened-in porch we passed by,
A tree with gold ornaments captured my eye.
The porch swing beside it could also get stares
For it was jam-packed--full of dolls and stuffed bears.
A place that was one of the most splendid sights
Was done up completely in icicle lights.
They sparkled like crystal. They made the house nice.
It shone like a magical palace of ice.
This glistening showcase could dazzle a crowd.
It really said Christmas. It said it real loud!
We headed on back then, our sightseeing done.
We'd seen great displays, and we'd liked every one.
But now we were thinking of getting home quick,
Where we'd have hot chocolate, all frothy and thick.
Those wee little marshmallows make it so sweet.
We cap off our ride every year with this treat.
The thought made us eager. "Please hurry!" we cried
So dad took a shortcut that he'd never tried.
The outdated section of town we went through
Had small, modest dwellings--not showy or new.
But cutting through there made our tour more complete
Because of one thing that we saw near the street.
There, on a lawn, in this old neighborhood
We saw a small manger scene made out of wood.
We paused and we gazed at this simple display--
Just plain plywood figures and pine straw for hay.
A streetlight nearby cast a soft gentle glow
On Joseph and Mary and Jesus below.
It wasn't electric or flashy or bright.
It didn't have colors that lit up the night.
And yet, although humble and homemade and small,
It really said Christmas most clearly of all.