We all have memories of peering out the car window in wonderment at the thousands of Christmas lights on breathtakingly beautiful or over-the-top holiday light displays. It’s one of the magical elements of the holiday season that takes us out of the everyday rat-race mode, that subtle — and sometimes not-so-subtle — reminder in sparkling lights to reflect on what is most meaningful to us as the year draws to a close. So sit back and behold! From pristine, outlined rooftops and charming vignettes to the most bedazzled homes in town and one bright shining star, Birmingham’s homes are gorgeous, glowing emblems of why we celebrate each year. Buckle up and breathe in the beauteous bedazzlement!
Birmingham’s Best Christmas Lights
An Iconic Star on the Hill
“When I was a boy growing up in the Homewood area,” says Jim McCormick, “I looked up on the mountain and saw a star of lights each Christmas.” Years later, Jim moved with his young family to a home along the precipice of Shades Crest Road and soon came to learn that the iconic star was hung each year by his new next door neighbor. The elderly gentleman was becoming too frail to hoist the star and was going to have to give it up, so Jim approached him about taking over the responsibility for the iconic star. The elderly neighbor was delighted to pass the torch. “He was very enthusiastic about keeping the tradition alive,” says Jim.
Jim has been hanging the 40-foot-tall star, made of 150 light bulbs and plastic PVC pipe, for more than 25 years now. He has had thank-you letters in his mailbox and grandpas show up with their little ones to see the star up close. One fellow even knocked on Jim’s door and explained that he and his girlfriend came to his driveway to sneak a peek of the star up close on their first date. He asked Jim if he could propose to to his girlfriend beside the star. Jim obliged and the soon-to-be-groom arranged the proposal, complete with a photographer hiding in the bushes. That’s what Jim loves about the star. It’s people’s kind words and sincere enthusiasm that cause him to take four-and-a-half hours to hang the massive apparatus each year. “I love the camaraderie of it, our friends and neighbors coming over to see it up close and spending time with my two sons when they help me hang it,” says Jim. “But I think, most importantly, it’s the overall meaning of the star. It helps you remember the reason for the season.”
Happy Holidays, Birmingham! May your days be merry and BRIGHT!