Holiday Decorations Comfort Neighborhood Youth

Kate Ginley, Staff Writer

From a young age, I watched my dad and neighbors put up the Christmas lights and was oblivious to the handwork it took.

As a member of the family who won the first Moraga Christmas decorating contest in 2009, I become accustomed to going big during the holidays. Therefore, when my dad claimed he wasn’t going to put up Christmas lights this year, I had to play the role of the Ghost of Christmas Past.

I wasn’t about to let my own father become a ba-humbug during the most wonderful time of the year.

Since our usual gang wasn’t around to help my dad, I committed my Thanksgiving break to being his assistant. We started on the Monday of Thanksgiving break. Surprisingly, the simple task of passing down boxes from the attic was difficult. Heavy lifting resulted in accidental scrapes and bruises.

By Tuesday, things were serious. I was cut by a steep and sharp roof, almost electrocuted, tripped by a ladder, broke the Mother Mary in the Nativity scene, and tangled in a web of decorations; I am a clumsy fool who should never be trusted around objects that could be labeled as dangerous for children under the age of ten.

From morning to after nightfall, I strung up lights. I had to test all of them, screw on bulbs, bag the power cords and connect it all without blowing a fuse. Unfortunately, mild cursing may have occurred.

Though Christmas is the most magical time of the year, I have come to realize just how stressful this “magic” takes.

Although I signed up to be a hero and save Christmas for my street, I began to see the wisdom in playing the Grinch once in a while. Why not just give up like the rest of the street has done?

Then, our first Christmas miracle appeared. A young boy and his grandmother were taking a stroll around the block. The boy struggled, with rigid movements. I was later informed that the boy suffered from cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder.

Though it was obvious the boy was having difficulty, he stopped and turned toward my house. His mouth hung open at the masterpiece my dad and I had tried to create that day.

It was that wonderstruck expression on the face of a boy to whom the holiday matters most that made our efforts worthwhile.

We pushed onward.

Despite the stubborn lights, word spread quickly across the neighborhood and more and more kids came to see our house.

Putting up Christmas decorations makes a real impact on the community. Enchanting kids, the decorations act as reassurance that Santa will be attracted to their neighborhood.