Netflix downtown Norman

Jesse Wells, co-owner of Wells Family Christmas Tree Farm, prepares a Christmas tree in downtown Norman for decoration for the Netflix “Here for the Holidays” light display, which will illuminate the 200 block of East Main Street.

While Netflix’s light display covers only a portion of Norman’s Main Street, much of the city had something to say this week about the Christmas decor. 

Although online polls offer incomplete and inconclusive results, we noticed that many of the people offering their feedback in our poll this week, and some in our comment section, weren’t happy with the light display — in fact, nearly 85% of those who took our poll said they were “underwhelmed” with what they’d seen. 

The feedback on local Facebook pages often offered a dismal view of the lights.

But several in our Facebook comments offered a positive sentiment, expressing gratitude for Netflix’s visit to Norman and the free display the company left behind.  

It’s a sentiment we agree with.  

In a year when Norman, like many cities, hasn’t had much to celebrate, the downtown display is a welcome gift to us.  

Our Main Street ended up looking almost exactly like most of the locations Netflix decorated this year, including Natchez, Mississippi; Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania; Alton, Illinois; and Vallejo, California. Downtown Augusta, Georgia, appears to look brighter and slightly more festive simply because the light display is in a condensed area that’s more accessible by foot than by car.

The light display also came at no additional cost to the city. When so many Norman businesses have suffered the brutal effects of COVID-19 this year, it’s an added bonus that the lights brought a massive line of people to our downtown and its small businesses last weekend, offering a free and COVID-safe option for holiday entertainment.

Did the light display in most of these cities look exactly like the mock-up Netflix promoted? No. 

Is our Main Street light display still a free community celebration of Christmas that brought in visitors? Yes. 

In a season that’s brought more challenges and division to our city than any in recent memory, we’re hoping Normanites will let their hearts grow three sizes this December and embrace the Christmas spirit in any way they can.

The Norman Transcript Editorial Board includes Publisher Mark Millsap, Editor Rob Collins and guest members Brandi Coyner, Keith Gaddie, Kathy Haney, Karlos Hill, Marc Nuttle and Michael Ridgeway. For comments or questions, please email editor@normantranscript.com.

Emma Keith covers Norman Public Schools and the University of Oklahoma for The Transcript. Reach her at ekeith@normantranscript.com or at @emma_ckeith.

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