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Beyond the Bow: Midland light display shines light on giving back

In a year where it's never been needed more, the annual Thames Christmas Extravaganza almost didn't happen. While smaller, its mission is still as big.

MIDLAND, Texas — You know it’s Christmas when the annual Thames Christmas Extravaganza turns on soon after Thanksgiving.

“People need some happiness. I always want to do my part,” Ricky Thames said.

The lights, the nostalgia – it feels a bit like magic.

But this year…

“I decided not to decorate this year,” Thames said.

No Christmas lights?? The thought of that is abominable and honestly a check mate for 2020.

Now before you go calling Mr. Christmas himself the Grinch, know this: “I’m recovering from an existing foot surgery and I’m in need of a total knee replacement. I didn’t think it would be possible to put up my usual display,” Thames said.

Just when you thought the year couldn’t get any darker, Ricky had a bright idea.

“I brought my boys in to help me do the small display this year,” he said.

While smaller in size, his mission is just as big. You see, the Thames’ display is a popular attraction and over the years, it has turned it into an opportunity for people to give back –shining a light on the Jubilee Center. No display this year would’ve meant no donations in a year when the need has never been greater.

“There are a lot of people hurting, not just because of COVID-19, but just a lot of people down on their luck. Every little canned good and monetary donation helps,” Thames said.

This year, when you drive down Ashwood, you’ll still find a spark of imagination.

Credit: KWES

“There’s a 7 foot, 25 pound Christmas teddy bear,” Thames said.

And the main attraction: an opportunity to give.

Perhaps a lesson we’re all refocusing on in 2020: you don’t need the biggest and brightest of anything to catch people’s attention, while not forgetting to look for moments of light.

The Thames Christmas Extravaganza is located at 5600 Ashwood Ct. in Midland. They will be accepted donation to the Jubilee Center through Dec. 31st.

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