“Goin’ for a Drive” – the hunt for holiday lights!

Have you done it yet?

Have you gotten in the car, with the express purpose of “goin’ for a drive”, looking for holiday lights? If you haven’t, here’s your reminder! Pick an hour, just one hour, over the next few days, and load the family in the car. It will definitely be worth the trip.

My grandparents were from that brief time in human history when “Goin’ for a Drive” was a worthy and enjoyable way to spend an afternoon, anytime of year. They’d get dressed up as if they were going someplace special, hop in their sparkling, humungous, green Chrysler, or the brand new Plymouth, and off they’d go. They’d drive just for the sheer enjoyment of the experience, just to look out the windows and see the sights along the local parkways, side roads and scenic drives around New York. Usually a stop at a diner somewhere along the way, for coffee and a burger with cole slaw, was part of the plan. My sister and I spent a great deal of time with my grandparents, going for drives in the back seat of those behemoth cars, and the hunt for holiday lights were the best drives of all.

Grandfather with car

One of the great joys of childhood involves seeing ordinary, everyday houses lit up and decorated with over-the-top colorful lights, life-sized figurines of angels, and giant Nativity scenes.  Who doesn’t remember that thrill of being the first one to spot a Santa, complete with his sled and reindeer, actually up ON TOP of someone’s roof? Come on, admit it- you loved it.

gedney park holiday lights high

Gedney Park Drive, White Plains

virginia lane holiday lights gingerbread

Virginia Lane in Thornwood

I really wanted to recapture a little of that for my own kids, but they have much less tolerance for the whole “goin’ for a drive” concept. I knew we’d need a little more of a plan, so I did some research first and made a list of streets to visit. But you know your family best- maybe you need a list, maybe you don’t! If you can get away with the joy of meandering the side streets, not knowing what’s up ahead, go for it. Or use a list – but either way, get out there while you can!

virginia lane santa high

Virginia Lane in Thornwood

Holiday lights north kensico

North Kensico Ave., White Plains

My whole family had a wonderful, old-fashioned good time driving around last night, looking for lights. We saw elegant houses with delicate, pretty strings of lights everywhere, over the top show-stoppers, and everything in between. I told them stories about my grandparents, and the drives we used to take, and they listened with interest. I felt like the generations were connecting, just a little bit, as we looked for the lights.

Although we tried, my family couldn’t find a house with Santa actually up on the roof. If you find one, please let us know in the comments – we’ll definitely go for another drive!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!

4 thoughts on ““Goin’ for a Drive” – the hunt for holiday lights!

  1. This used to be one of my favorite holiday activities! My plans to do this last night were thwarted by icy roads. I’m hoping to get out there tonight or tomorrow night! Great post on a family tradition.

  2. We love to look at lights too! There is a house in New Rochelle on Vaneck Dr. at the corner of Stratton Rd. that is over the top. It does have a Santa on the roof. Enjoy!

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