One of the many things that my husband and I have enjoyed since we've been together is coming up with our own traditions. Some of them are old traditions that have had a twist on them. For example when I was growing up, every member of my family opened a gift of pajamas on Christmas Eve. My husband and I also exchange one gift on Christmas Eve, and it usually is a DVD.
Since we've become parents, finding traditions that we all enjoy has been fun too. My older son is now 4. Around the time of his first Christmas, I heard that many families annually visit the Sudbury Lights. At first I thought this was an organized event like Bright Lights in Springfield, MA which I have heard much about, but not yet seen. No, that wasn't what Sudbury Lights was. Rather, it's a small neighborhood within in Sudbury, MA that has a really fantastic display of Christmas lights.
I have a soft spot for brilliant light displays. I remember enjoying one that was not far from my house when I was growing up. (Unfortunately, they never updated their technology, so when I went back as an adult, I was not quite as taken by the 1970's Christmas decorations, but I suspect that my sons would be.)
Sudbury Lights sounded great. My husband and I were all excited to go see them. I asked around for directions, but no one could tell me exactly where it was. Needless to say, I was a little confused. How would I find it? I was reassured that if I drove east on 20 into Sudbury until I saw a Japanese restaurant, I would see a ton of cars, most of which would be mini-vans, turning left (plus several more driving west on Route 20 that would be turning right). All I needed to do was follow them. Oh...OK. Disturbingly enough, we loaded up our three month old and headed off following these completely vague directions.
Sure enough, the directions were accurate. When we saw a bunch of cars turning, we looked over to the right, saw the Japanese restaurant and figured it was time to turn. We continued to follow the cars and before we knew it we were enjoying a fantastic and free light display. We had a wonderful time. Rumor has it that Santa sometimes makes an appearance there too. I know in the past, they've also had a Toys for Tots collection box.
We had such a good time, that when my parents came up from IL, we took them to it too. They also really enjoyed it. We've now made it our Christmas Eve tradition to go to the Sudbury Lights. Of course my boys do not follow the tradition the same way that my husband and I do. Their slant on the tradition is to fall asleep right before we get there.
I wouldn't drive an hour to see it, but if you're not far from Sudbury, it really is a nice display. Did I mention that it's free? One of these days we'll make it down to Bright Lights. I have no idea for how many more days the Sudbury display will continue, because it is in a neighborhood after all and not an organized event. However, in case you're not comfortable with the idea of randomly following minivans through Sudbury, here are some more specific directions:
Take 20 into Sudbury. Turn north on Horse Pond Road (left if you are going east, right if you are going west). Take a right on Tall Pines Drive. The display will take you through a cul de sac called Bridle Path.