Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Christmas Tree Lanes Bay Area

Anyone who knows me, friends, family, my Cook with Zee blog followers -,  and fellow Yelpers, will know this is one of my favorite times of the year and it has nothing to do with presents.  I love, love, love, Christmas lights and decorations as it really gets you into the Christmas spirit joining like minded individuals who appreciates the experience over physical things.  This goes right in line with my happiness style as an Experiencer that I recently discovered with Jennifer Duke’s Happiness Dare where I could have sworn she wrote the section just for me (have we met?) but at the same time happy to know there are many others just like me who value the same things. 

Duke welcomed me to the “club of the beauty seekers, adventurers, and pay-attentioners” confirming my “enthusiasm of a child and a deep sense of wonder finding supreme happiness by engaging in meaningful moments”, reaffirming what I have been saying for as long as I can remember, “You don’t look for happiness in a store.  You look for it in moments.”  That would explain why my two passions that spawned both my blogs are experience driven, food and travel and worthy of exploring in a future post. 

In the meantime, back to what fills me with joy this time of the year. 

Christmas Tree Lane, Thompson Street, Alameda, CA

Living in the East Bay, my first introduction to Christmas Tree Lanes where an entire street/neighborhood went all out with holiday lights and decorations was Thompson Street in Alameda over 20 years ago.  A stroll down this 1 block in Alameda is a gift in itself as one of the residents on that street will often dress up as Santa and sit in a sleigh on the median on the weekends and children from another house serve free hot chocolate the Friday or Saturday before Christmas making you feel like what a small version of the North Pole must look like. 



Chestnut Lit Houses at the Parkway Estates on Woodside CourtSouth San Francisco, CA

Just like Thompson Street, the whole neighborhood decorates their houses to the max at Parkway Estates starting at the corner of Woodside Court and appropriately named Treeside Court.  Unlike Thompson Street which is mainly 1 story homes, these houses are of a grander scale so there are more “prime real estate” space for going all out.  With one house often playing live festive Christmas music to another sporting a “snow machine” handing out candy canes, it is hard to choose a favorite.  But if I must, it is a toss up between the corner house and the Bear themed house with an inflatable teddy bear peering down at you from the second floor and a revolving bear tree downstairs that I always have a soft spot for.


Christmas Tree Lane, 1900 Block of Eucalyptus – San Carlos, CA

Upon learning that I religiously return to the Alameda and South SF ones at least once annually without fail, I was told about the one in San Carlos about 3 years ago in case I wanted a change in scenery.  That year and my second visit this past weekend coincidentally happened to be the week before Christmas so is definitely much more crowded than earlier in the month but you also get to see the owners outside gathered with their friends for private parties around a fire pit in case you just want to thank them for the time and electricity to create this winter wonderland for us.      


You may be tempted to compare them to each other and may even have a preference of one over the others which is okay too.  For me, having blocks of festive lights and decoration great for kids and us adults that looks at it with the enthusiasm of a child, makes each special in its own right so there are no cons.  Like Duke's Happiness Dare, I dare you to try not to smile. 

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