One of my favorite signs of the holiday season is seeing the farmsteads across Iowa lit up in the cold, dark nights of December.

When I was a kid growing up in northern Iowa, I looked forward to seeing the little blue star on the top of our town’s grain elevator, because it meant Christmas was near. But I wondered how that star got all the way up to the top of that silo. My dad insisted it was Santa and his reindeer.

Iowa farm families share Santa’s spirit of giving when they decorate their barns, homes and evergreen trees with holiday lights.

I remember on Christmas nights driving from grandma’s house, there was a farm with a tractor parked out front, the lights rotating around the tires to look like it was rolling through the snow.

Nowadays, I enjoy driving by the farm on Highway 17 (just south of the Highway 30 exit) with the big “JOY” sign that’s lit up with white spotlights, creating a shadow echoing the message on the barn behind it.

Maybe I’m sentimental, but I always feel hopeful when I see holiday lights way out in the distance, on a farm that may go unnoticed in the summer when it’s obscured by tall rows of corn.

And it seems those holiday lights shine even brighter out in the country, when the temperatures are at their coldest and the winter nights are at their longest.

Surely Santa would agree, when he’s flying his sled over Iowa on Christmas Eve night, with the bright stars on top of grain elevators to guide his way.

 Written by Teresa Bjork
Teresa is a features Writer for the Iowa Farm Bureau