Sometimes it’s hard for me to get in the Christmas spirit. I know why; a big, fat part of my Christmas preparation had to be left behind when I moved in 2007. I miss you every year, Christmas Tree Lane.
If you’re not lucky enough to have grown up in a town with a ridiculously huge and kind of famous Christmas display, I pity you. Get in the car and drive there right now. Go marvel at the 140 houses and 300 trees in the nearly two mile stretch. Listen to the carols playing from car windows and tree-mounted speakers. I dare you not to get in the holiday spirit.
Christmas Tree Lane had kind of a depressing start. In 1920, a tree was decorated in honor of a child who had died. Each year, more and more houses joined in. Since then it has only gone dark twice, in 1941 due to wartime restrictions and in 1973 due to the energy crisis. Now around 10,000 people visit every year.
I think my earliest memory of Christmas Tree Lane was caroling with my Girl Scout Troop. We would all bundle up and stand in a makeshift covered bandstand to belt out what I’m sure were terribly off-keep Christmas carols. It was fun though, and we got candy canes and hot cocoa. Candy canes and cocoa is really all the motivation you need at age 8.
As a teenager, nearly every year we’d all bundle up and make the 4 mile loop up on side and back down the other. There’s a shopping center across the street from the end of Christmas Tree Lane, which gives you a nice opportunity to get a rest and warm up in a coffee shop before heading back. If you’re able to walk, I’d definitely recommend it over driving. A lot of the displays are right on the side of the street offer many opportunities to take stupid pictures of you and your friends.There’s also a really ridiculous amount of traffic, and sitting in it is not conducive to holiday good cheer. There are two walk only nights and it’s just lovely walking down the street under the lights strung from tree to tree.
The only disappointment is Donner.
I know that sounds a little strange, let me explain. As you go down Christmas Tree lane, you’ll see the eight tiny reindeer and Rudolph in order. (On Dasher, on Dancer, on Prancer and so on.) So why is Donner annoying? Because he’s only been “Donner” for a short time. Before that it was “Donder”, and for years. I’m not talking a couple of years either, I mean at least a decade. It was always the highlight of the walk when we found Donder, the unfortunate reindeer who couldn’t spell his own name. I’ll never forget, Donder.
Now enjoy these videos of the overachiever house at the end that makes everyone else have a complex.