FESTIVE HOLIDAYS IN NAPLES, LONG BEACH

P1320411-1

Although I was raised Jewish and don’t celebrate Christmas, the highlight of every holiday season was going out with my family to see Christmas lights.  In Long Beach, California, where I grew up, the most beautiful light displays were always in the community of Naples, named after Naples, Italy.  The community is built on three islands divided by canals which open into Alamitos Bay.

Naples is an affluent community with large homes and accompanying private boat docks that line the canals.  Each Christmas, the community sponsors a themed competition for the best house decorations and light display.  This year, the theme was, “Under the Sea.”

Until I returned home to SoCal last holiday season to see family and friends, it had been several years since I had visited Naples.  I had forgotten just how beautiful it was, and I was in awe of the beauty of all the colorful lights reflected in the still water of the canal.  It was early in December on a weeknight, so it was uncrowded—perfect for doing photography with my brother and sister.  We had fun experimenting with our cameras and trying out different creative techniques to capture the colorful lights.

09

10

13

18

17

17-2

Amazed at how completely over-the-top some of the light and decoration displays were, we gawked and laughed as we hunted for the next photo opportunity.  That time with my siblings was special; a lot of fun, much laughter, and some fun photos to remember it by.

03-Naples

07

22.jpg

This year, we returned on Sunday, just a couple of days before Christmas.  As it gets closer to the big day, the crowds get larger, and the atmosphere gets more festive.  None of my pictures could possibly convey the joyous mood and energy that flowed all around me.  I found myself spending more time with my camera by my side rather than in front of my eye, so I could soak it all in.

P1320461

P1320484.jpg

P1320437.jpg

“Under the Sea” Sweepstakes Winner

P1320451.jpg

P1320424.jpg

P1320439.jpg

This was just a small section of the display by the winner of the Humor Award

P1320455.jpg

This swimming pig was one of many displayed by the owner of the Naples Rib Company, a local restaurant.

P1320483.jpg

There is nothing I had ever experienced during the holiday season that ever compared to the scene I was immersed in with my brother and sister that evening.  Although the crowds grew as we meandered through the canals, everybody was laughing, gawking, and so pleasant to each other.  Joy was in the air!  Musicians were playing Christmas carols, a youth group sang, some kids were selling hot chocolate, and a man passed out candy canes to all who passed by.  Meanwhile as decorated Long Beach Transit trolleys filled with spectators passed over the canal bridges, singing gondoliers below navigated through the canals as their passengers enjoyed the views up above.  There were SUP paddlers with lit up hats, decorated Duffy boats full of partiers, and all sorts of other watercraft passing under the bridges as we looked on at the spectacle.  My brother and I just stood and stared, remarking how beautiful the reflection of the lights was on the rippled water below.

P1320464

-1.jpg

During this most divisive time in our country I have ever experienced, it was such a delightful reprieve from the anger and hostility that has permeated our lives all around us.  Joy to you all, dear readers!

P1320430

 

4 thoughts on “FESTIVE HOLIDAYS IN NAPLES, LONG BEACH

  1. Regretfully, your post and amazing photos were lost in the organized “Social” section of my emails. Did not see it until just now – – but what a treat! We celebrate Christmas until Epiphany – – January 6th. It is always so strange that on December 26th Christmas music is no longer played on the air – – decorations disappear from stores, and out comes Valentine candy! Christmas was SO YESTERDAY – – it’s as if it never happened. Your “exquisite” photos of the Christmas lights in Naples being seen by me on January 2nd has helped extend the season. I am so glad to hear you enjoyed that special time with your siblings. Happy New Year!!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s