Christmas traditions and our family ‘light runs’

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I love Christmas!

Christmas has become much more of a secular holiday. While its origins are religious, Christmas as we know it today, especially in pop culture, is certainly not. Personally, as a Christian, I celebrate the “religious” aspects of the holiday, but have no problem if people do not, (I am not about having a theocracy or any kind of forced religious practice). 

I also love the magic, the lights, the joy, and the hope that Christmas and Christmastime bring. I have friends and often see social media posts by others stating how they dislike the Christmas season because there is so much commercialism attached and they feel the stress of preparing for the family while looking for the “perfect gift.” They lament about how they need to get the tree and decorations up, get the food shopping done, get the house cleaned, and get the gifts bought. On top of that, they may have kids in holiday concerts or plays

I agree that Christmas can be very commercial – and I am not a fan of retailers opening on Thanksgiving or wicked early on “Black Friday” (like 3 a.m. or some odd time like that) – though I haven’t seen much of that with the current staffing shortages. But there are many aspects of Christmas that are not commercial, such as family time and traditions.  

I love Christmas traditions, and like many families, our family has a few, some of which Jackie and I have been doing since we met over 25 years ago. One tradition, in particular, is “light runs,” or as we used to call them when the boys were little, “pajama runs.” We get some snacks and hot chocolate and take a ride throughout the area to see various Christmas displays. Some traditional, and some using modern lights or pixels that are synchronized to music. Some play traditional Christmas music while some have a mix and yet others do not play any traditional tunes. They are all pretty cool and offer different perspectives of Christmas, which I find cool. 

Last week we ventured out on a light run and saw three major displays along our route and countless smaller displays. While I cannot list every display, I will list the three that we saw as well as a few more from a previous run. There are many other displays, which are usually listed on Facebook or on the web.

Holt Family Christmas Photo Credit Jackie Chicoine
Holt Family Christmas Photo/Jackie Chicoine

The first display that I’d like to mention is The Holt Family Christmas, which is located at 118 Marathon Way here in Manchester. This is a pixel-style light display complete with a video screen and is synchronized to music on a dedicated FM radio frequency. While they do not play traditional Christmas music, the music keeps with the joyous season and is pretty cool. 

Belgrade Street lights Brian Chicoine
Belgrade Street lights. Photo/Brian Chicoine

The second display that we saw was the Belgrade Street Christmas, which is located at 26 Belgrade Street, also in Manchester. This display is made using traditional lights and is synchronized to music on a dedicated FM radio frequency.

Jobin Christmas Lights Photo Credit Jackie Chicoine
Jobin Christmas Lights. Photo/Jackie Chicoine

The final display of the night is one that we have been going to for the past 25 years. It has grown from a home covered with traditional Christmas lights to one that now has, in addition to the Christmas lights, blow-up decorations and is semi-synchronized to music that plays over speakers on the property. The Jobin Christmas Lights are located at 8 Stephen Drive in Bedford. 

A recent light run took us to several displays in Manchester, including 313 Coolidge Avenue, 77 Bremer Street, 157 Laval Street, 442 Bartlett Street, 252 Willow Street, and 2013 Elm Street. 

A map of Holiday light displays in Manchester is available for the 2022 Manchester Holiday Lights Contest. Although ballots are due on December 19th, the map is still available and most of the displays will be lit through at least Christmas. 

So get out and Enjoy the great things of the season…enjoy the lights!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!  


About this Author

Brian Chicoine

Brian Chicoine is a New Hampshire native who moved to Manchester from Raymond in 1980. While a student at Notre Dame College here in Manchester, Brian transferred to Rhode Island College in Providence, where he met his now wife, Jackie. Brian and Jackie spent the next 20 years living in Providence and Manchester, returning to Manchester with their two sons, (who are proud Manchester natives), in the fall of 2017. He and his family intend on staying in Manchester and are committed to helping make it an even better place to live, work, and play.