My aunt used to visit annually at Christmas, and she, my mother, my sister, and I would pile up in our Ford Fairlane station wagon and cruise the streets at night during her visit in search of Christmas lights splashed over the cherry trees in the neighbors’ yards, just as neighbors would have seen it done so at our house. House after house after house, all had trees adorned with beautiful glowing lights.
It was quite common in that place and time for neighbors to decorate their trees until a band of wayward youth started making it a habit to steal all the lights and otherwise vandalize decorated homes. Then, presumably, as a result, many neighbors stopped decorating, and maybe they felt liberated, too, from the obligation and hassle. It seemed only one house for every ten was decorated, and thus it has remained.
Now, the only lights I know to see are at places like The Morton Arboretum. Thank you for keeping this beautiful tradition alive.