There are two sure ways to know the holiday season has arrived in Kingman.
The first is the lighting of the Christmas tree on Radar Hill that normally first occurs on Thanksgiving Eve.
In the past, I got a good view of it just by looking outside my living room window. But now I am barely able to see the top of the tree due to several new homes on my block that now obscure my view of it.
New construction seems to be everywhere.
Motorists on Stockton Hill Road and those westbound on Interstate 40 are able to view the "Tree of Lights" on the east side of Kingman Regional Medical Center. They were first lit up the night after Thanksgiving.
While neither of these local traditions may be as spectacular as, say, a meteor shower, both are reminders that another season of cheer, gift giving and good wishes is upon us.
Cheer is something I can use more of this time of year. I am not thrilled about driving to work while it is still dark outside, but that's the way it is with the shorter days of winter.
One pleasant aspect of beating the sun up in the morning in December is seeing houses with outside Christmas lights on before dawn. A couple of those I pass each morning also have the inflatable snowman in a plastic bubble in which snow flies set up on the front lawn. One of the larger retailers in town markets them and they seem to be selling.
I was downtown one day last week looking for anything worthy of a picture. A group of employees from Kingman Parks & Recreation was decorating engine 3759 in Locomotive Park. The old steam-driven engine is a local landmark ideally situated near the Powerhouse Visitor Center and gives tourists something else to photograph as they walk around the area.
My wife Colleen and I moved here in September 1996. The number of traffic lights put up since we arrived is indicative of community growth.
Let's see, there now are lights along Stockton Hill Road at Club and Kino Avenues that were not in place nine years ago. The January opening of the Wal-Mart Supercenter added another light in front of the main entrance at Sycamore Avenue, plus a light on Airway Avenue at the secondary entrance.
Traffic on Northern Avenue is better regulated now with stoplights at Stockton Hill Road and Bank Street. Ditto for the intersections of Bank and Airway and at Airway and Andy Devine Avenue.
Don't forget the light on Highway 66 at Airport Drive. That also went up in the not-too-distant past.
The number of eateries also has jumped, particularly along Stockton Hill Road. Cracker Barrel, Golden Corral, IHOP and Chili's all have opened restaurants since 2000, and another Subway sandwich shop is open near The Home Depot.
Colleen and I will have put up our artificial Christmas tree by the time you read this column. We normally do so on her birthday of Dec. 6, but since weekdays are busier we put it up a few days earlier this year.
Is it my imagination or does putting up a tree take three times longer than tearing it down after the holidays?
Oh well, it's time well spent, especially since Christmas only comes once a year.
Happy holidays to you and yours.
Terry Organ is the Miner's education, health and weather reporter.