By Kristen Brandt, Special Initiatives Director
Each year, I anticipate the arrival of the Christmas season. The holidays have a tendency to embolden our artistic side, even those of us who protest a lack of ability or talent! People adorn their homes with the colors and symbols of the season, serenade strangers, and eagerly await those culinary masterpieces that force us into sweatpants until the New Year.
The holiday season even changes our landscape. Almost as soon as fall chases out the summer heat, holiday yard displays begin to speckle neighborhoods. I enjoy noticing these cheerier exteriors, and revisiting favorites has become a tradition. Seeing other cars packed with families, children’s faces glued to the windows, show me that this is a tradition I share with many others in central Mississippi.
The Richardson Light Show has assembled one of the most elaborate Christmas displays imaginable each year for the past eighteen years. The lights are synchronized to music, and you can tune their car radio to 99.9 FM and cruise the cul-de-sac to Christmas classics. This year, ABC featured the family home in Madison and its more than two hundred and fifty inflatables on the Great Christmas Light Fight. I have many memories with my family visiting 219 Sundial Road and continue to make more every year!
As students at Mississippi College, my (now) spouse and I became attached to the Clinton Community Nature Center and their winter wonderland display. We even got engaged there! Thousands of twinkling lights illuminate a quarter mile trail and lead you through a music and light show. You can also sip on a fresh cup of cocoa or sing and roast marshmallows around the campfire.
The final stop on my tour of holiday art installations is Canton, the “City of Lights.” As a child, I looked forward to visiting the Animation Museum to marvel at the moving reindeer and waving Santa Claus. My family and I would walk through the Interactive Christmas Village and take a family photo in front of the beautiful tree in the Canton Visitor’s Center. The winter festival appears to grow every year. This year, I noticed extra rides flanking the old-fashioned carousel, and the addition of the evening Sip ‘n’ Cider contest, where visitors taste test ciders offered at stores on the Square and vote for their favorite.
For extra holiday inspiration, visit these or any of the other public lights displays at Winners Circle Park in Flowood and Freedom Ridge Park in Ridgeland. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all of us at the Mississippi Arts Commission!