Sure, the holiday season isn’t the same this year.
Health officials recommend avoiding travel, coronavirus vaccines are not yet widely available, and outdoor gatherings are a little more difficult in wintry weather.
But there’s still a lot of good going on if you keep your eyes open.
There’s Brian Floyd of Bonney Lake, whose Sky Island neighbors have done anything for Christmas since the idea was first developed 22 years ago. Those moving into the neighborhood are “warned” of the annual effort, and friends work together to decorate it.
This year, Floyd’s family, who joined the neighborhood about three years ago, are raising money for the Bonney Lake Food Bank using courtyard signs, a text messaging service, and a website that directs people online to the fundraiser. They also go with donations and have a trash can for food donations.
“It’s been a long year for the community and the grocery bank,” Floyd wrote in response to a Seattle Times request for reader-submitted photos of Christmas lights. “Our neighborhood was evacuated due to forest fires, and the fire crept right into our homes. The food bank, under new leadership and with the help of the National Guard, has pulled out of a dangerous position while meeting the unprecedented demand from COVID.
“The lights are something that brings joy every year, and we made sure to get up early to bring everyone into the spirit.”
And there are Peter and Cheri Kopp from Port Townsend who spent the weekend after Thanksgiving creating serenity by outlining their home and studio with lights on timers and a hanging lamp in their “little backyard house”.
Cheri Kopp says she loves “the way the light reflects off the buildings, fences and the maze in our back yard. Our oasis is elegantly lit in the middle of the forest of tall trees that grow around us, even though we live within the city limits. Such is life on the Olympic Peninsula. … I will enjoy this display well into winter when it lights up my way from the studio to home. “
Whatever you do to celebrate the season, you know you are not alone.
The Seattle Times has been collecting photos of Christmas lights from readers since earlier this month. That way, we stay connected with the community this season, especially a year when people say they are more likely than ever to make it big on the holidays.
“Are we better adjusted to all the lights, or were they always evidence that on a very simple level someone was out there to turn the lights on?” asks Nancy Goldov, a Seattle-based psychologist and member of the Washington State Psychological Association, who says people know this winter looks dark for many.
Goldov said it was customary in Jewish tradition to put the menorah in the window during Hanukkah. It serves a purpose that may extend beyond Judaism to a wider context during the pandemic, simply and quietly say, “We are here.”
on Twitter: @alexiniguez. Alex Iniguez is Assistant Metro Editor at the Seattle Times. After arriving in Seattle in the summer of 2018, he worked as an Assistant Sports Editor for over two years. He spent the past seven years with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and is a graduate of the University of Illinois.