Christmas Lights and Community


There are two blocks in South Philadelphia where the neighbors work together each holiday season to put together a spectacular display of Christmas light and other ornaments.

The first one is known as the Miracle on 13th Street, and was recently voted as having the best Christmas lights display in Pennsylvania by Travel + Leisure magazine. The street even has its own Facebook page.


The second display is known as the Smedley Street Christmas Light Spectacular, and also has its own Facebook page.


We had the opportunity to visit each street twice this past week, and it was well worth it. While the displays are spectacular, what really struck me is thinking about the amount of cooperation necessary to put together such displays.

On 13th street, it’s not just your own house that you decorate, but there are lights strung from one side of the street to the other, requiring the homeowners to coordinate their efforts in order to do so.

On Smedley Street there is a grassy median that has reindeer, a large Santa Claus, and several other ornaments which I am guessing required the efforts of several of the homeowners to construct. In addition, the lights on each house are white, showing how coordinated and cooperative the homeowners on the block are.

No doubt there’s some peer pressure at work here, plus some selection bias in that if you buy a house on one of these streets you probably are aware of what the expectations are.

None the less, it’s impressive to see such cooperation among neighbors living in such a big city. I think the two streets offer a great example of what can be accomplished when people pull together in order to accomplish a common goal.

It’s a lesson our political leaders need to learn.

So thank you to the homeowners on 13th Street and Smedley Street for all the work you do and for your willingness to share your efforts with visitors to your streets. Your lights are part of what makes the holiday so special.

Merry Christmas!


2 thoughts on “Christmas Lights and Community

  1. That’s awesome! Although I’m sure some bickering and compromise had to be involved (human nature), the result is beautiful and impressive. We all could take a lesson from these neighbors.

    I hope your Christmas was merry and bright. Happy new year!


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