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bright ideas

Christmas lights spark a new tradition in Maryland neighborhood

A Christmas tradition was born in Rodgers Forge, Maryland, last winter, thanks to a string of lights and an act of kindness.

Matt Riggs knew his neighbor across the street, Kim Morton, was dealing with anxiety and depression amid the pandemic, and in November 2020, he decided to hang a simple strand of white lights from his home to hers. "I was reaching out to Kim to literally brighten her world," Riggs told The Washington Post.

While this was meant to lift Morton's spirits, it ended up inspiring several other people as well. "Little by little, the whole neighborhood starting doing it," Morton said. "The lights were a physical sign of connection and love." Soon, the street was transformed, with lights gracefully stretching across the road from house to house, including one strand that spelled out "Love Lives Here."

At least 75 percent of the neighborhood participated, and it was decided that this would be a new annual tradition. They kept their word, and on Nov. 21, the neighbors started decorating. "From such a humble beginning, a tiny little act, it became this event," Riggs said.