Here in Indianapolis every year, the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in the center of downtown is upconverted into “The World’s Largest Christmas Tree”, as it’s been billed for decades. I have no idea if that record holds, or if it was later disqualified for lack of organic roots, or if it was cute hyperbole from Year 1 onward. Regardless, it’s one of our most beloved holiday tourist attractions, and a far more tasteful and aesthetically pleasing tradition than Black Friday shopping.
Today I caught a glimpse our monument tree a bit early, mid-transformation before it was ready for public oohs and ahhhs. You can see the 52 light strands strung all around per procedure, but as of 11:30 a.m. crews were still setting up the stage, sound system, festive decorations, and other necessities for “Circle of Lights”, the official lighting ceremony, always held the Friday evening after Thanksgiving. Anne and I attended once just so we could say we’ve done it. The weather was freezing, the streets and sidewalks were densely crowded, and the on-stage speakers’ words were impossible for me to make out from where were huddled over by the Indianapolis Power & Light Building. You can understand what’s going on a bit better if you watch on TV from the comfort and distance of home, if you don’t mind missing out on the community aspect of the holiday celebration, as well as missing out on the fierce competition for the better parking garages.
Once the transformation is complete and the monument’s lighting has been triggered, it’s a nightly fixture through at least Christmas and possibly New Year’s. We previously posted a pic of its nighttime wonderland appearance a few years ago, but really ought to go snap an updated version sometime. It’s bright and large enough that you can spot the Tree whenever you drive through or near downtown via interstate every December, or if you know which city streets intersect with Monument Circle and are best for showy Christmas cruising. (For the record, those would be Meridian Street and Market Street.)
To be honest, I’ve never witnessed the lighting takedown, which is not ballyhooed and receives no TV coverage and attracts no musical guests, so I have no idea what day it’s done. All I know is one day city workers sneak in, reverse the entire process, and the big pretty tree reverts to a military monument instead, signaling the end of the holiday season. But for now, I’m content to dwell on the state of the lights today, a harbinger of the holiday season upon us, with or without the requisite electricity and optional hordes of bedazzled looky-loos.
(P.S.: If you’ve done me the kindness of reading this far, Happy Thanksgiving from the staff at Midlife Crisis Crossover, by which I mean me and technically Anne! Of course I wouldn’t forget we still have that major mealtime appointment to be enjoyed before we once again rush headlong toward Christmas.)