‘A Christmas Story of Religion, Hope & Love? Old style!’ by Juanita Hargrove (Adult) – Information – The Florida Instances-Union


As Mandy sat on her porch, she pondered plans for a neighborhood lighting competition that she had enjoyed for most years. Her late mother and father, who are now in a nursing home, always adorned their home with lots of fairy lights and decorations that have been collected over the years.

She remembered how crowded the attic was, now suitcases, chests and boxes full of old things, some of which hadn’t been seen in years! That might lighten up the blue vibe she was feeling overwhelmed with now! If only their friend Mike called today, they could be planning the competition.

The phone was down for repairs. Her cousin Linda had also decided to go for Christmas and leave her alone in a big old three story house where she grew up. well, she might as well go up the attic and see it.

A fire truck and ambulance drove by with sirens wailing and lights flashing to enliven them, to the excitement they bring to other happy memories of the past, except bad ones! Mandy had dated a firefighter in college for a while before he moved to the big city. Their community was small enough to know each other well and appreciate the friendliness of small towns!

So Mandy got up, brushed off the snow, fell fresh and went upstairs. The attic stairs were easy to climb as she searched for the theme she had picked … “A Jolly Ole Christmas Past!” Fortunately, there were no cobwebs, creepy bugs or pests walking around to greet their task of searching among the owners of surprises! Grammy must have loved collecting decorations over the years. And there had to be something flashy to shine in their name for the competition, which was the catch!

Mandy opened a large black suitcase with all kinds of ornaments, so beautiful and decorative! Next she opened a large box labeled “Lights”. There were a multitude of options inside! She couldn’t believe her eyes! So many ways to get started! “What’s this?” She thought, trying to untangle the old row of candlesticks her great-grandfather had donated to the family.

There were bubbling lights too, big, medium and small lights, tens of millions, to light up the night on the lawn! All the colors of the rainbow. Next to the lights were old candles that matched the older strand. So she pulled these out too. Suddenly she heard the doorbell when someone kept ringing! Mandy looked out the skylight to see Mike and his friend Howard trying to get their attention.

Well, the next few hours were spent laughing, planning, searching, and deciding on the decor on Christmas Eve for the competition. Luckily everyone had a great time looking for treasure in the attic. One was a question mark! Which they would check later as everyone was hungry for pizza by now and needed to make progress. Time passed by! When the evening went by they were full in the attic and noticed how fun it was!

The three friends didn’t like breaking open such a rare tidbit of the lights of the past, but they knew it was time to call it a night in the old attic, which was well equipped for winter days.

Christmas Eve came way too early when Mandy and the two young men enjoyed each other, sang Christmas carols, laughed and drank hot cocoa with snacks when they were hungry again! No time to cook! And the strange object found in the midst of the attic finds just waited aside.

A light misty snow started early on the day of judging! Mandy’s front yard was spectacular! All kinds of fun old Christmas decorations with candles on the tree in front of the house, as well as on windows and on the porch, to prepare you to win the competition without a doubt! And freshly baked cookies, chilli, and crackers for dinner that filled the room with lovely flavors for the big occasion! When Mandy washed the few glasses, cups and dishes, another treat from the attic, snow began to fall again! Just add to the beautiful neighborhood view and all decorations.

Suddenly the lights of the house went out! Thank goodness for fireplaces and lots of logs so you can see and stay warm!

In it, Mandy and the boys lit the tree, the porch and the window candles again to light up their wonderful antique decor from “An Old Fashion Christmas”. Of course they won, knocked out and everything. No power outage would rain on their parade! The only candlelit tree outdoors on a finally clear, clear night of fun, snowball fights, Christmas carols and neighborly love that is so abundant!

With all said and done, Mandy’s 1st place blue ribbon looked great on her front door! As modern flashlights, cell phones, even “Noelers”, filled the night they remembered forever … Mandy, Howard, and Mike heard a Christmas party full of surprises that made a great neighborhood and the surprise they ended up with found the attic of A little baby figure from a cot long ago lit the starry night to fill every home with love, peace and joy for all! Even the old camera with flash cubes worked, it’s magic! The end of a fabulous Christmas Eve flash!