Jingle Jaunts Christmas Lights in Houston - December 17, 2007

On a clear, chilly night, Jingle Jaunts on Wheels narrated by professional guide, Sandra Lord, started at Houston's City Hall downtown with a short walk around Herman Park Square. All 35 members and guests were prepared to 'ooohs' and 'awhs' at the best of Houston's Christmas lights. In the square an 80 foot spruce from Pennsylvania was decorated with huge, multi-colored balls and lights. Sandra gave us a history of when the Tree of Lights tradition began some 90 years ago. We toured around all the downtown buildings, looking at both outside and inside decorations. On to Memorial Park where we sang Jingle Bells (out of key) with gusto, ringing the tiny bells Sandra's assistanct, Dot, had passed out. Uptown Park, stylish shops like in an European style, was lit up so we went full circle and stopped at Cafe Express for a scrumptious dessert break. Then into River Oaks where we drove by the home of the famous and infamous: Mayor Lanier, Jeff & Kay Skilling, Cullens, Tilman Fertitta (think Landry's chain of restaurants). Many of these houses could be right out of a Christmas movie, displaying wrapped trees with internal strings of dangling white-red-blue-green lights and framed, white-lighted reindeer and angels. Next was Highland Village decorated with over-the-door red ribbons and dozens of wrapped trees. A great photo stop at River Oaks Plant House where a flying Santa along with reindeer and angels were on the roof. A menagerie of ivy animals (toparies) lined the center espanade on Buffalo Speedway. We viewed the lit up Houston skyline as we returned downtown. The last stop downtown was the backside of the Exxon-Mobil building with its huge "Peace on Earth" display. A wonderful, beautiful, memorable trip.