Welp, Thanksgiving is over, and I’m sure many of us are still in a food coma. 😉 I hope everyone had a nice day with family and friends. Hopefully the fights were kept to a minimum, and instead lots of parades and football were watched. 🙂 Maybe people even planned their attack for shopping today. I have family members who look through the ads, preparing for shopping on Friday. They’d make out a list of what they wanted, where it was located for the cheapest and checked to see which places opened when. It was serious business, and they were very good at getting great deals! I have a friend going out this year at 3 in the morning! She was kind enough to invite me, but I’ve got a date with my bed at about that time. I’m not usually a Friday shopper, except for one year when I got a GREAT deal on some cat litter. I took pride in that purchase. For reals.
I like the few days in between the end of Thanksgiving and the beginning of December. It’s nice to enjoy the little bit of quiet time, before the hustle and bustle of Christmas parties, shopping and family gatherings. (All things I enjoy anyway.) I know for me, I like to wait until after December 1st to put up a Christmas tree. However, for many people, once the turkey is put away, it’s time to get out the Christmas decorations. This couldn’t be more the case for those who live on Christmas Tree Lane. In fact, the decorating started way before Thanksgiving!
Christmas Tree Lane is a family tradition. I’ve been going since I was little. My step-dad and mom had this little blue station wagon that we called the Smurf Mobile. There were 4 of us kids, and if you do the math, you’ll realize that 4 kids cannot safely fit in the back of a station wagon. It didn’t really matter to us, as we would all pile in, and head off to see the lights. It was also tradition in my family to never actually go through all of Christmas Tree Lane. We’d either start at the beginning and turn off on Gettysburg (or sooner), or start on Gettysburg and go to the end. (We lived off of Gettysburg at the time.) My favorite part of Christmas Tree Lane was always getting to see Santa at the end. There’s just something magical about that man in red. (Which is funny because I don’t even do Santa with my kids.)
Now I realize there are lots of different streets lit with Christmas lights, some even better than Christmas Tree Lane, but this is a Fresno tradition. Christmas Tree Lane started in 1920, when a single tree was decorated in memory of a child who died. From there many more trees were decorated over the years, and thus Christmas Tree Lane was born. You can see the original tree marked on the East side of Van Ness, about half way through.
The first night of Christmas Tree Lane is typically a walking night, and that’s the case this year. It opens Tuesday, December 2nd, where you can walk the lane, without cars, from 6-10. This is a nice family event. It’s also a nice place for a date too! (Hint, hint to those of you planning a date soon.) I’ve walked it a few times with my kids and they love it. There is just something about being out, with others in Fresno, enjoying the cool air and pretty lights. It’s a nice time to take your favorite warm drink, hot chocolate, coffee or tea, and enjoy the music and fellowship. If you can’t go on December 2nd, the other walking night is Wednesday, December 10th.
If you don’t (or can’t) walk during walk times, here are the driving hours for Christmas Tree Lane. (You can also walk during driving nights, just be careful of the cars.)
Friday and Saturday, 6pm-11pm
The last night is December 25th.
Remember, on driving nights, you start at Shields, and go north on Van Ness. Both sides of Van Ness are one way at this time. If you plan to cross Van Ness, to avoid traffic, I’d suggest you cross at Shields (or south of that), or Shaw (or north of that).
I really hope you give Christmas Tree Lane a try, if you haven’t already. It’s rich with history, and your kids will love it! Make it a new family tradition. 🙂