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Americans Battle Coronavirus Loneliness with Christmas Decorations

In times like these, no gesture is too large or too small to make a difference. 

As our nations delves ever further into this coronavirus crisis, many have begun to lament what they would have done differently if they were able to turn back time, even if only a few months at a time.

But other Americans are turning back the clocks, and bringing a little holiday cheer to their self-quarantines.

Wrapped around a tree trunk in Colorado, fashioned into a heart in Alabama and hung high over Main Street in a New Hampshire town, holiday lights are going back up. As the coronavirus spreads, the displays are providing a bit of emotional and actual brightness. And they’re especially easy to enjoy from a safe social distance.

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“We live out in the country, but I know you can see them from the highway,” said Julie Check, who turned on the white lights that trace the roof line of her home in Eastman, Wisconsin, on Wednesday night. “Anything I can do to make people happy right now, I’m going to try to do.”

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In Farmington, New Hampshire, a roughly five-block stretch of downtown has been re-illuminated with holiday lights that swoop and zigzag between tall wooden posts. So cherished is the town’s 80-year decorating tradition that taxpayers approved spending $11,500 six years ago to erect the posts after the electric company said lights could no longer be affixed to its poles.

“It’s a small town; we don’t have a lot of traditions. That was one of them, and we just didn’t want it to go away,” said Lee Warburton, president of the Farmington Preservation and Improvement Organization, which maintains and installs the lights. At his suggestion, the 27 strands totaling 2,000-plus bulbs were tested and turned back on Thursday night.

The impromptu pseudo-celebration was popular on social media as well.

In times like these, no gesture is too large or too small to make a difference.

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