* IVNSTtHyE lV eI L L A G E S
Do Christmas lights look good on palm trees? Villagers get a bright idea for Northern-style decorations. STORY: JOE ANGIONE
The designer of our holiday cones taught everyone how to make them. He has since left our village, but we all pitch in to show newcomers how to set them up.
hen I came to The Villages 21 years ago, Christmas lights and other holiday decorations festooned across palm trees seemed an appalling idea. In the Northeast, where I had lived, there were beautiful winter-hearty evergreens on millions of lawns and in public parks that were the official, holidayappropriate trees to decorate. But, alas, here in my village, and in most others that I know, there are very few “Christmas trees” standing on front lawns. What were people to do? How could they show passersby that their homes embraced the Christmas spirit? A wreath on the front door helps. But it isn’t enough. And so, Villagers took to their palm trees and other tropical foliage, running lights up and down, sideways, and crossways in attempts to put on a holiday light show. Some scenes were clever; others seemed a half-hearted swipe at presenting a bit of holiday color. A few demonstrated little more than a fierce commitment to intense illumination and the ability to afford a big hike in their electric bills. Thanks to a very creative neighbor, my Village of Hacienda North adopted a single, innovative lawn decoration to celebrate the Christmas season. It consists of a stylized holiday tree that begins with an eight-foot tall, two-inch thick PVC pipe driven about a foot
deep in the ground. From it are strung 24 lines of twinkling white lights spread 30 inches out from the pipe and anchored firmly in the grass with tent pegs. The whole thing takes about 45 minutes to set up. The result is stunning. Up and down our streets, in front of each house, is a glistening, white, coneshaped Christmas tree, each topped with a bright red, furry Santa hat. The designer of our holiday cones taught everyone how to make them. He has since left our village, but we all pitch in to show newcomers how to set them up. A date in early December is designated as “tree-lighting day” in our village, and it’s celebrated with a big driveway party in the evening at someone’s house. Anyone interested in seeing our holiday display should pick an evening after Dec. 3 to visit and view the long columns of snow-white Christmas cones that seem to go on forever all through the glorious nights before Christmas. Decorations here are now every bit as traditional as they are back in the snowy North.
Every month. Everywhere.