Every December, thousands of visitors from around the Bay Area come to Thompson Avenue in Alameda, California (10 miles/16 km east of San Francisco) to walk and admire the festive decorations and twinkling lights. It’s not the largest holiday lights display, but it’s a favorite among locals who’ve been coming to “Christmas Tree Lane” since 1938!
Of course, due to the pandemic, it’s different this year. Visitors are advised to forgo the stroll around and encouraged to drive by instead.
Unlike previous years, there are no sidewalk vendors selling hot chocolate to warm your hands and tummy. But one advantage to driving by is that you get to stay warm inside your vehicle!
In addition to Christmas tree displays, there are parols (Filipino star-shaped lanterns) and farolito/luminaria (paper bag lantern commonly used in Hispanic culture and the southwestern United States). There’s a menorah for Hanukkah, too.
Also spotted: signs for social distancing, Black Lives Matter, and Biden-Harris on a few front lawns. Sign(s) of the times, indeed.
Participation in the winter tradition is optional for residents who live on Christmas Tree Lane.
Seeing that most homes have some sort of decoration, even as simple as a string of lights on their windows or front steps, I get the impression that no one wants to be the Grinch on the block!
The local electric company chips in, too. They sponsor the cost of the lights in the median (where there’s a mailbox for letters to Santa!)
The holiday lights will be on each day until New Year’s Eve from 5:30 pm until 10:00 pm, which is also the county’s curfew, per the Limited Stay at Home Order.