WHAT'S ADJACENT TO THE LIGHTS: In our competitive decorating world, where owners of light-bedecked homes now regularly layer on four or five dozen strings of blinking bulbs, just for starters, it can be easy to forget that it isn't always just about the glow. It's about the whole show, what's above, beneath, and adjacent to those lights, and how the entire presentation eventually comes across. (Questions we can all blithely bypass as we stand in the store aisle, clutching the coolest strand of LEDs ever.) The Christmas decoration connoisseur becomes accustomed to taking in scene at large, and each lover of lights has their favorite background: A classic suburban ranch house, a desert garden full of spiky cacti, a grand hotel's twinkly lobby, and, that SoCal staple, the harbor boat parade. Boat parades, however, have a little something extra to offer that terrestrial light shows can't quite manage: They can deliver the sparkle twice, once from the light-covered boat, and once from the dark water that's capturing the effect. It's a stunner, and the word "shimmery" is used by just about every viewer of a nighttime boat parade, because that's exactly what's happening: ultra shimmer.
THE OXNARD PARADE OF LIGHTS: While aquatic processionals will happen up and down the coast, capping with Newport Beach's century-plus spectacle, another venerable entry is rolling -- er, floating -- on Saturday, Dec. 13. It's Oxnard's annual gussy-up-the-yacht (or vessel of one's choice) and pilot it around the Channel Islands Harbor vicinity. It's free to see, but, as you can guess, a number of chartered boats and restaurants make the most of the night, and spots to watch (and sip/eat, in the case of the restaurants) start to book up.
IS WATER... the best light-adjacent thing? Well, we still have a soft spot for glittery cacti and homes draped in blinkers, but that H20 shimmer is a hard thing to beat, bulbs-meet-magic-wise.