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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

And Now For Something Completely Different: Holiday Lights Edition

As mentioned, it has been delightful and surprising to encounter traditional cold weather Christmas spirit thriving here in the desert. We've had chilly overnight and morning temperatures, enough to wear long pants and put on a second layer and light fires in the fireplace so all in all, enjoying a cozy feel at least one or two times a day. Granted, the other day, we had the fire going before our little gathering and we had to open the door for awhile as it got too hot inside. These are the contrasts that we continue to find charming and bring a smile to our faces.
But we are most impressed with the light displays that people across the Coachella Valley are committed to. I guess it's quite a bit easier to build an elaborate outdoor display that takes about 2 months to complete when you aren't contending with sub-zero temperatures and have loads and loads of sunshine day after day. Here in the desert there are two light installations that have gained a following. The first is the delightful street known as Candy Cane Lane. Every house on this winter wonderland street is decorated with adorable and cute installations. We were amazed as we drove down the street at the creative and beautiful displays that unfolded before us. I have even heard that when people buy a house on this street, they must agree to decorate their own house. Kind of an amazing community spirit project. Nice that everyone does it because it really is lovely. 
One of my favorite was the big motor home with Santa driving!Of course, there were lots of traditional decorations and nods to pop culture with Frozen characters and Minions, and Santa in his sleigh with reindeer.
Loved the little penguin that popped up and down out of the igloo. But amidst the traditional, there were some displays that added desert flair, like these three wise men arriving to the manger on ATV's. 
As if that wasn't dazzling enough, our next stop was RoboLights, a display that has actually been on the news because there were city ordinances questioning the safety of the display. The owner ultimately won and we're glad. This display is like none we've ever seen and likely will never see again. 
The largeness of the scale of the display hits you right away. Then pathways unfold before you as you attempt to soak in all that is going on around you. The 'bones' of the display are permanent structures that the owner has welded together out of all manner of trash. Old carnival rides, mannequins, and toilets, are just a mere sampling of what you will find as you wander through this bizarre and wonderful display. For instance, atop the yellow structure is an old Jack-in-the-Box head. This sleigh is being driven by a rabbit and pulled by an old truck. And here, a shark carrying a candy cane in his mouth flies overhead. This rendering of Mary and Joseph holding a baby Jesus that was simply a pile of junk welded together caught my eye. My cousin, Mike, took this hilarious shot of me getting a blow dry under an vintage salon hair dryer. We even had some Robo skiers. And golfers. And here was a traditional Santa, except he's driving a tank. Hmmm, how does that fit in with the Peace on Earth theme of the season? The grounds are lovely and expansive. The big beautiful trees were wrapped in a hundreds of lights and reflecting off the ponds that surrounded several of them. Various and sundry castles dotted the landscape and changing lights gave us a new look every few minutes. There were many scary clowns that were not exactly kid friendly. Clearly my favorite of all was the reindeer pulled sleigh made out of toilets!
Each deer had a great expression on its face. Doug sat down to the organ and played a bit. It was fully functioning organ even if the organist wasn't. A lovely trellised walkway filled with light kept things bright. Soon it was time to say good-bye to RoboLights. I will definitely be back. It's clearly a lifetime labor of love on the part of the owner. He only asks for $5.00 donation, but it's truly a donation. All are welcome. If you are in the Coachella Valley, I strongly encourage you to get over to see this!Our happy group selfie basking in the glow of the holiday lights. Doug was particularly illuminated at this point. And the moon itself was putting on a pretty great light show of its own. Christmas in the desert. It's shaping up to be pretty darn festive after all.