“Gradually and then suddenly” was how Hemingway said one goes bankrupt. It’s also how something far more fun tends to take shape: city Christmas light displays.
The first lights I noticed this year in Florence (on the edge of borgo Ognissanti, for the record), were likely not the first to be hung. You may suspect as much about the earliest ones you spotted. But which streets turn twinkliest the fastest isn’t really the point: watching one’s everyday route slowly turn up the festive factor, string by string, until all at once the center morphs into LED-laden Candyland, is the real pleasure.
Like the scene-stealing janitor in the original Miracle on 34th Street, I tend to balk at the tinsel, trees and Black Friday promos hanging in shop windows before the leaves even turn—“Make a buck, make a buck!”, as the Brooklynite riffed—but once the days shorten, strings of Florentine fairy lights get a free pass. More is more is more: I like to see the city take the Clark Griswold approach.