Sunday, December 26, 2010

Our Christmas

We drove about an hour and a half to spend the afternoon with Doug's step-family, not far over the border into Michigan. Shortly after crossing the state line, we saw a large bird in a snow-covered cornfield. Originally thinking that it was a large turkey, we drove on by. As we did, though, Doug realized that it wasn't a turkey, but a golden eagle. That's a pretty rare sight in these parts, so we circled back to get another look.

The bird was still on the ground when we drove by, and we were able to confirm Doug's identification of it. We turned around again, heading back in our original direction, and I was ready with the camera. But two other vehicles had spotted our friend in the field and had pulled over to watch. All that attention made the bird nervous, and he flew to a distant tree before I could get close enough to get a photo. Of course, I still tried, but the image wasn't good enough to share here.

The tradition at the gathering with Doug's step-family is to have a pot luck meal, followed by a ten-dollar gift exchange...the kind where numbers are drawn to establish the order in which each person selects a gift; then each subsequent person may choose to take a gift from the pile or to "steal" a gift that another person has previously opened. It's entertaining, not expensive, and makes the fun of the gift exchange last longer.

Doug's brother lives about a half-hour away from where the step-family gathers, but he doesn't attend that function. So we went to pick him up and take him out for supper at a Chinese buffet, which was just about the only place in his town that was open on Christmas Day.

After our meal and enjoyable conversation, we went with him for a drive around the area to look at Christmas lights. Doug's brother told us of a place he had heard about, way out in the country, that had a fantastic light display, so that's where we went first. Here are a few images of that:

Then, we drove through a neighborhood that goes all out with Christmas decorations. This is one house from that neighborhood:

The last stop was at a house that has "dancing" lights, complete with music that can be listened to on a special FM station on a car radio. There was even video showing on the garage door that went along with whatever song was playing at the time. Here are a couple of images from that house:

We thoroughly enjoyed our Christmas Day and hope all of you did, too.


  1. What lovely shots of the lights.I have been out once arounf my area, but liked how artfully done the home were that you found.I played bingo with the gift pile as you did at a few parties and it is really fun when they are all passed out and time to steal one.

  2. Those lights are just amazing and you've captured them perfectly. It sounds like you had a very lovely day, indeed. It must have been exciting to see that eagle. I just read a blog about a Christmas morning sighting of a wild boar.. right past their home. Interesting gifts these critter visits. I'm glad you had a great day, Linda.

  3. OOTP - I'm glad you enjoyed the photos of the lights. They turned out better than I had expected. Those gift games are fun, aren't they? I usually refer to it as a "gift war" because it sometimes seems that way. :)

    Hilary - Isn't image stabilization a marvelous thing? Those pictures were taken without a tripod at a shutter speed of 1/8 second. They're not perfect, but I was pleased with how well they did turn out. The eagle was a major highlight of the day, though. It's always fun to spot wildlife.

  4. Wow, those pictures are beautiful. And what a gift people who do all that give to everyone who drives by. I'm really impressed with their clarity. Good job. :)

  5. Thanks, Sandra. And you're right about the gift that those people give. Doug's brother said that the December light bill for the one place was about $1,400.


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