It's that time of year when something magic happens. We call it the Christmas Spirit, and it touches young and old in different ways. Houses start to sparkle and shine, draped in garlands of lights and decorations galore.

I make it a game and try to guess what kind of family lives in those beautifully decorated houses.

I think that you can always tell which houses have little kids; they decorate with Rudolph and Frosty the Snowman. Those with older children decorate with a little more sophistication. And those homes with no children are often the most spectacular of all.

It's probably just me, but it seems the older we get, the more time we have. More time means more decorating. Ideally, we try to do our outside Christmas lighting when the weather is nice - typically in October or early November.

Usually the weekend we pick turns out to be freezing cold and we end up tossing handfuls of lights in the bushes, throwing our hands up with a big 'that's enough, let's go inside and get warm!'

Luckily, we have what we refer to as 'Christmas Queens' right next door and across the street. Christmas Queens are homes dripping in beautiful lights and look like something out of "Miracle on 34th Street."

Drawn to our street by the beautifully decorated houses, people 'ooh' and 'ahh.' Then, they arrive at our place and add a 'huh?'

So, hats off to all of you who spend time decorating your homes so beautifully so everyone enjoy them -- me most of all!

Grandmother. Gardener. Mardi Gras fanatic. Guest writer Suzy Ryan does it all. Check out more of her heartwarming memories and funny stories here. If you have a question for The Woo or want to share your own stories, drop a line: thewoo3@yahoo.com