ANDOVER — The Town Common area is lit with thousands of lights to lift people’s spirits during the Christmas season.

The idea began while neighbors and friends Sue Mills and Denise Hurd took their regular walks around the neighborhood.

“We have always commented that we would like to see the commons used more because it is a beautiful area,” Mills said. “We thought, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could light up the commons?”

They talked with neighbors Lora Owings, Karen Thurston and Lisa Neighbors, who agreed and were ready to pitch in.

They also presented their idea to Marshall and Vickie Meisner, who have lit the gazebo on the Town Common at Christmas time for 21 years.

“We kind of introduced the idea to them, you know, ‘how would they like company on the commons?’ and they were thrilled to think that somebody else was going to do the rest of it for them,” Mills said.

The grand lighting Nov. 27 was dedicated to them.

The five women gathered over $4,000 in donations and got help from dozens of volunteers. Plans included enough lighting to cover 20 of the “beautiful, old trees” in the area, Mills said. Owings, an electrical engineer, came up with a lighting plan.

It’s not just the lights that are lifting spirits. A small box on the gazebo platform is for children to leave their letters to Santa and get a reply.

Thurston, a teacher at Andover Elementary School, said one parent told her the commons lighting was “magic for her 10-year-old son who is on the edge of believing; helping keep the magic alive for him.”

As Hurd noted, “COVID sapped everybody’s spirits so hard and they come out here and it’s just beautiful and it does brighten their spirit a little bit.”

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