Monday, December 5, 2011

Advent Calendar - December 5: Outdoor Decorations

This post is number 5 in a series of 24 for the 2011 Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.

On the 20th day of Christmas,
My neighbors gave me a treat,
they lighted up the whole darn street!

1) Did people in your neighborhood decorate with lights?

When I was a kid (1950s and 60s), there were few lights outside the homes, if any, in San Diego. We had no lights outside the house, mainly because we lived on the second floor and with the lighted Christmas tree in the cubby-hole, it was visible to passers-by on the street.

Starting in about 1970 (when we married), I noticed that some neighbors would string lights around their roof eaves or on a bush or tree in the yard. We put strings of lights on our roof eaves all across the front of the house and garage and in the entry-way starting in about 1975 until about 1995. We haven't done it since, mainly due to safety reasons (I'm not confident on the roof any more!).

With our daughters away from home, we are often not home at Christmas time.

In recent years, several of our neighbors on our cul-de-sac have the mesh-lights on their eaves, and several have blow-up displays or lighted figures in their front yard.

2) Did some people really go "all out" when decorating?

Oh yes. And they still do, even more. One of the Christmas traditions for our little family in the 1975 to 1985 period was to drive around "Candy Cane Lane" and "Christmas Tree Circle" in Chula Vista to see the outdoor displays - lights, scenes, music, etc. One of our family traditions for awhile was to go to a pizza place with family friends, then drive by the lighted streets, and then have a gift exchange at our house with the friends. Unfortunately, they moved away, and we haven't done it since.

"Candy Cane Lane" is gone, but "Christmas Tree Circle" still exists in Chula Vista. There are many more of these neighborhood displays now all over the San Diego area. I saw a map in a local magazine recently of the biggest and best displays. Someone could drive around to about 20 sites using the map.
3)  Any stories involving your ancestors and decorations?

No, not that I recall.

Originally published on 4 December 2007 (edited since).

No comments: