If there is ever a time to go all-in with celebrating, it is now.

Photo by Cody Black on Unsplash

All. The. Things.

Dog birthdays, packages that arrive on time, my 9-year-old’s Fantasy Football team wins, and most notably, the amount of money I have saved on chewing gum and gas over the past 9 months.

The word that keeps crossing my lips during this enigma of 2020 is STRUGGLE. It presents itself in different ways for everyone, but I think I finally found one source of common ground among all of us. 2020 has been a struggle. Who else is ready to get off the bus?

If you are like me and looking for ways to cram joy into these last two weeks of a depleted year, you have come to the right blog.

Albuquerque Area Holiday Lights Tour

Albuquerque is such a festive city and because this is only my second holiday season in ABQ, I was delighted to stumble upon a Facebook Group that actually made me turn on my notifications: Albuquerque Area Holiday Lights Tour.

This is a not so small (it has added 5,000+ new members in two days), but extremely warm and personal group where 13,633 New Mexico Facebookers come together to carve out joy and celebrate the little things.

The generous page owners have created a genius and elaborate map to show all the best lights in ABQ (linked below with permission). This couldn’t have come at a better time since a lot of the normal holiday traditions have restrictions or have been canceled altogether.

Create your itinerary, hop in your car, turn on some of your fav songs, and follow their map to enjoy beautiful trees, home displays set to music, Santa stops, food drives, luminaries, and the infamous Bugg house.

Bugg House

I have to tell you, I saw a news story about the Bugg House and got a little teary-eyed with their intent to bring joy to those who have had a hard year. Being fairly new to New Mexico, I needed to know more.

It turns out that the Bugg house light display in the Inez Neighborhood started back in the ’70s. The story is that Norman grew up longing for nicer Christmases and so each year he brought a little more joy to his decorations to create a nicer Christmas for others.

Families drove from all over the city to Hoffmantown in Northeast Albuquerque as an annual tradition. Unfortunately, with all the traffic and luminosity, neighbors eventually complained, and Norman and Joyce Bugg weren’t able to continue their elaborate tradition.

More than 18 years later, grandson Jared Bugg has partially recreated what his grandparents started back in the ‘70s. In a year of struggle for many, Jared is offering some light and happiness as a tribute to Grandfather Norman who passed away in 2018.

You can find the Bugg House on the map along with over 150 other displays. If you are able to offer something in return, check out Trujillo's Winter Wonderland and donate to their non-perishable food drive.

The best part of all of this is that aside from the gas, it’s free! Not to take away from the many local paid-for light set-ups (as many of them give back to the ABQ community), but if you are willing to take a few minutes to create a roadmap, I can bet you will not be disappointed.

I plan to celebrate the people who have gone out of their way to create light this holiday season. It is more important this year than ever before. Perhaps people will take in a few neighborhoods each night to make sure they see them all or find displays close to their homes.

Either way, there is something special about the sparkle of lights that, at least for me, creates pause and gratitude. Maybe, just maybe, the light will remind us that there is hope in the struggle and that J-O-Y is not lost...

Check out Albuquerque Area Holiday Lights Group on Facebook

Albuquerque Area Holiday Lights Tour Map

To open this map on your own device click here.

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