By Jayke Brown

It is Christmas time, and I feel so blessed to enjoy this time of year with my family. With my husband by my side and my daughter in the back seat, we leave our home in Goodyear Heights and take rides at night. Usually, we are out working our side jobs doing Grubhub and DoorDash (which services many awesome local restaurants) but on this night, our drive takes us all over Akron to make memories and see the magical twinkle of lights on all the houses and buildings.

Last night, we drove first downtown to Lock 3 and walked the grounds. While there, we got to see the light-up figures, the window display cases full of animated glee, the tree dazzling, the random array of lights and we got to hear the Christmas music. We cannot go here and not enjoy also the water cascading under the Akron Civic Theatre. Before leaving, we stop down there to enjoy yet another tree, the lights dancing on the walls and water and the sounds of a man-made waterfall. It lifts our spirits, as we are all three water people.

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After leaving, we hopped in our car and headed a bit southwest to Kenmore and enjoyed the magic that the Ulrich’s Christmas Display on 15th Street provided us. It was great seeing all the lights, snowmen, reindeer, trees and more and while we watched lights. If music is not provided, we enjoy a mix of Latino Christmas and traditional American Christmas music (as my husband is Latino). From here we headed outside the city a bit over to Lake Anna in Barberton where we walked around the lake to enjoy watching the lights reflect the season and the joy of happiness being here as a family. We even walked hand in hand around the lake. It was a bit chilly but worth it.

After being chilled, we headed to get some hot cocoa for our daughter and coffee for the dads in Wadsworth. While there, I remembered driving through downtown Wadsworth a week or so ago and how much I enjoyed the feeling the lights brought me, so drove our family down to the center of town. On the way, there is a white house that is tastefully decorated and looking at it made me think of so many different feel-good holiday movies. After enjoying light display after light display in that area, we started to head back toward our house, but I remembered before getting home, one light show we see every year and realized we had not seen it yet this year.

About half a mile from our house, on Eastgate Avenue in Ellet, is a wonderful light display that you tune into. When you do, it plays a number of songs and the lights light up the house, and surrounding houses dancing to the tunes coming out of your radio. It is always so much fun and they pick different songs every year. This year, our favorite song they chose was from Frozen 2. Good job, guys, if you are reading this! 

After this house, we headed home. The whole journey took us just shy of two hours, but we took our time and enjoyed everything. Maybe tomorrow night we may even head out toward some of our favorite houses in North Canton, Kent, Cuyahoga Falls or even Tallmadge and see what light displays they have waiting for my family and me to find. No matter what you and your family do this holiday season, have fun, enjoy the time together as a family and be happy! 

Merry Christmas, or rather Feliz Navidad from my family to yours!

Jayke Brown is living life to the fullest while being a daddy, husband, author, caregiver and friend to everyone he meets.

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