STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
For many people, this is a dark holiday season. But Michael Short of an Ohio store called The Light Before Christmas says people are trying to make it bright.
MICHAEL SHORT: This year has been the year for people decorating the front of their house. They want to make the front of their house pop. Making their house light up this year has been very important to everybody.
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Short says lights started going up as early as October, which is good for business.
SHORT: You're looking at your house and you're like, oh, man, I spend all my time there. But now with it all dressed up, you're excited to look out your windows at night and see what your house looks like and that it's beautiful.
INSKEEP: And that festive spirit is shared in Huntersville, N.C., home of Maya Robinson Napier.
MAYA ROBINSON NAPIER: On our porch, we have a stack of presents 6 or 7 feet tall, and then there's a little elf. We have, like, 13 arches out there, four reindeer, Frosty the Snowman is like - I think it's, like, 18 feet tall.
MARTIN: Robinson Napier has never put up decorations before, but this hasn't been an ordinary year. She lost both parents, and she was looking for a way to commemorate them.
ROBINSON NAPIER: I call it our memory tree. I have some ornaments that I decorated for my two parents. And we also have blank ornaments out there, so if other people have names that they want to write, they can do that.
INSKEEP: At first, Robinson Napier had a hard time getting in the spirit, as we could understand. But she ended up with that 18-foot Frosty because she was doing it for her kids as well as her late parents.
ROBINSON NAPIER: And the best way to honor those who aren't here is to live and be happy because that's what they would want.
MARTIN: On this network, we talk about driveway moments, a radio story that holds you in the car. You have to hear the end. You don't want to get out. Napier had a different sort of driveway moment, lingering in the glow of her decorations.
ROBINSON NAPIER: I was sitting in the car, and I was just watching people stop. I didn't realize that it was such a big impact, that people just want something to feel good about. And it's hard right now to find those things. And so when you can have something that you can look at that's beautiful for a little bit and forget about all the other things that are going on, I think it's healing for a lot of people.
INSKEEP: Maya Robinson Napier, who decorated her house for the first time this year.
(SOUNDBITE OF KURT BESTOR'S "SILENT NIGHT")
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