Monday, December 20, 2010

Michigan Christmas Nostalgia Post

Michigan Expats - Culture - See All Culture

Being the Christmas season, I attended a school Christmas program. Watching a hundred parents and grandparents with cameras, camcorders, and smart phones permanently clued to their hands watching kids younger than 6 sing such classics as Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer complete with hand gestures and Santa hats.

This sparked the aforementioned nostalgia moment: of my own school programs. Growing up in Traverse City and attending Bertha Vos Elementary (RIP BV) in Acme, MI, we were extremely fortunate to have our Christmas programs at the Grand Traverse Resort.

There are numerous advantages to having your school Christmas program at a resort instead of a gymnasium, but the best was the Christmas lights at the resort. Not only did you enter the resort along a quarter-mile fully lit entrance, the lobby hotel had an incredible Christmas display complete with fountains, fake snow, multiple scenes, and robotic Christmas creatures.
Furthermore, I discovered that the Resort has recently invested and upgraded their Festival of Lights display including an 800lb Gingerbread House.

Of course, we'd always drive around and look at Christmas lights on the way home, particularly Bunker Hill Road overlooking East Grand Traverse City. The houses on Bunker Hill apparently were home to Clark Criswold and Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor as basically every house put up enough lights to be visible from space - some even managed to do it tastefully.
The Doctor's Christmas lights. We actually got snow in Virginia last week.
Of course, I still enjoy driving around and looking at Christmas lights, but it's not quite the same as driving around Michigan where the lights glisten in snow while your parents argue whether it is prudent to be driving around on ice and snow covered steep winding roads just to see cheap lights stapled to roofs.

It was appropriate that I watched National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation while I typed this. Everyone has there annual Christmas traditions, and many of them are linked to the places that forged them. While I still enjoy driving around looking at Christmas lights, it doesn't carry the same magic and awe as driving around the hills surrounding Traverse City at Christmas.

I wish safe travels to everyone taking to the skies, roads, and rails this week. I hope many fellow Michigan Expats are able to make it home to Michigan to visit family for Christmas as Mr. Sig and I will be doing later this week.

Merry Christmas


  1. ha, mr. sig, remember driving around looking at christmas lights, and having the contest to see which side of the car could count the most! we were such cheaters lololol...

  2. Your younger sisters were just discussing that. They said they suspected that you cheated.