Walking through her Calgary neighbourhood on Thursday, Jackie Probe was glad to see Christmas light installers at work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Oh yeah, this year it’s really important to raise up spirits,” Probe said. “Add sparkle to the neighbourhood, to the community, to the city so it makes people, you know, feel good.”
And people who work installing lights are putting up a lot of them. One Calgary company’s business is up 20 per cent over last year.
“We’re really busy,” True North Christmas Lights installer Audrey Hebert said.
“We weren’t sure how this year was going to pan out with COVID(-19), but I think a lot of people are not taking vacations, they’re staying home for the holidays and they’re having family over instead of, you know, going to parties or anything. So a lot of people are wanting to decorate.”
Community associations are also adding to their displays this holiday season.
“What’s going on in the world around us, with the pandemic, we need to boost community spirit,” said Panorama Hills Community Centre general manager Dan Green.
“Seeing a smile or a little bit of joy in these difficult times is crucial.”
There are also more Christmas lights going up at many Calgary businesses.
“Retail (stores) want to bring people in, having gone through this period of people not necessarily leaving their homes,” True North Christmas Lights owner Dan Leonn said.
Seeing people’s reactions as they work is one of the best parts of the job for lights installers.
“Most people are pretty stoked to see us coming,” Hebert said.
Henry McKenzie, a student at a nearby elementary school, was impressed as he walked by the home Hebert was working on.
“Christmas lights are just really awesome,” McKenzie said. “Because they’re really bright and it really brings out, like, yay, it’s Christmas, everything’s happy!”