Thursday, December 3, 2009

Brookline's 1st Light

Among my many worries about our move were holiday traditions. More specifically, losing our holiday traditions. In Austin, our family's holiday traditions included a walk through the Trail of Lights, a mile of 40+ lit scenes winding through Zilker Park. We'd come a bit early and wait by the Zilker Tree, an 155-foot-tall "tree" strung from the Moonlight Tower. We'd munch freshly popped kettle corn. When the Trail opened, we'd merge into the crowds. And every year at just about that time, I felt a surge of ridiculously sappy, sentimental, misty-eyed emotion.

This year, I was sad to see that the Trail of Lights barely survived the city's budget cutting to emerge as a shortened, half-mile trail re-christened "The Zilker Tree Holiday Festival." And maybe, secretly, I was a little bit relieved. Selfishly to be sure. But relieved to see that things don't stay the same even if one stays in the same place.

But what would we do in Boston? In my most anxious moments, I pictured a dreary month void of all holiday cheer and festivity.

Well, tonight, we went to 1st Light at Coolidge Corner in Brookline. The Coolidge Corner merchants and Brookline entities welcomed the holiday season in style, offering crafts, musical acts, fun freebies of every description, and food. Due to the big guy's guitar lesson, we arrived late and found ourselves tangled in a snarl of traffic. Lesson learned. 1st Light is apparently quite popular. We managed to find a parking spot a bit removed from the main action. The children were worried that all of the good stuff would be gone. They needn't have worried.

They dipped candles in wax, decorated photo frames with paint and glitter, made "gilt" walnut ornaments, and wrote with turkey feather quill pens. They received balloon animals and amazing flashlight/pens and cotton candy and snacks. We watched Indian dancers and listened to a few bands and chorale performances. The streets were full of families with beaming, bouncing, overexcited children and gaggles of exuberant teens. A fun, fun holiday street festival.

Thanks to Tanya for suggesting this outing. I feel a new holiday tradition taking shape.


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