It’s February and the Christmas lights are still up…why?

Published 12:04 pm Tuesday, January 31, 2023

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Why, some people are asking, are the Christmas lights still up in downtown Elizabethton?
The answer is that it adds a festive touch to the downtown during January, which can be a dreary month. Joe Alexander, who is over the Christmas lighting along with the Main Street staff, agreed that leaving the lights up during January would add a bit of festivity to the downtown during the season’s shortest days. But, that could all end within the next few days when the lights are scheduled to be taken down.
If you’re not in the mood to part way with glimmering lights and flashing bulbs, there’s no rule that says Christmas lights have to be taken down as soon as the holiday is over. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to start the new year by hitting the ground running. After all, it takes time to thaw the ice of winter. Remember — the bears are still hibernating, and the song birds have yet to appear and find their spring tune.
Christmas is a holiday that comes with multiple interpretations, traditions, and cultural leanings. In fact, if you were to follow the original tradition of Yule — the celebration of the winter solstice — you would put your tree up December 21 and take it down on February 1, upon the celebration of Imbolic. In Celtic traditions, Imbolic — which directly translates to “in the belly of the Mother” — is the celebration point between winter and spring. What better a way to celebrate that transition than by waiting until Feb. 1 to take down the Christmas tree and lights.
No, Elizabethton leaders are not pagan. They just like the Christmas lights and the idea of them brightening up dreary winter days when the days have only about nine or ten hours of daylight.
I recently heard someone complaining about the lights still being up in the middle of January. They think Christmas should be packed up and the lights taken down before Jan. 6, but they could not give a reason. Perhaps it has a lot to do with the 12 days of Christmas.
There’s no certain rule that says you can’t leave your Christmas lights up until July if you want to.
And, so it’s February and each evening when the sun goes down, and the day begins to fade, Elizabethton is lit up just like it’s Christmas. And, on a dreary rainy day like Monday and Tuesday of this week, the Christmas lights provide a sparkle to an otherwise dull day. And, for those who walk downtown in the evening, it’s a bit more lighter as the lights shine from the street.
Perhaps, it could become a tradition…leave the Christmas lights up through January. Why not?

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