The smell of freshly brewed hot chocolate drifting down the street and twinkling lights down Christmas Card Lane captivate the minds of the community.
This custom began with a mere 15 houses and has now spread to over 200 homes, ultimately fulfilling the original vision.
For 31 years, residents of the lane have put up extravagant lights, oversized inflatable characters, and most notably, uniquely painted wood cutouts.
This annual tradition started when Ellingham Street resident, Alana Hastings, suggested to her neighbors they find a way to spread holiday joy. Hasting and 15 other residents then decided to paint greeting cards onto large plywood pieces.
From then on, the practice gradually spread across the surrounding streets and is now recognized throughout San Diego as nostalgic light show.
Although residents have lived there for varying amounts of time, homeowners, Mike Morgan and Lisa Melahn, follow through with this annual tradition.
On the other hand, new residents, like Victoria Bell, who moved onto the electric street three years ago, also love to participate in the street’s festivities.
Although residents find joy in decorating, the real emotion comes with the ability to share and spread the cheer with other San Diegans.
“It is an adventure every night,” Melahn said, “but the joy it brings to people and just experiencing the holidays through the kids’ eyes, it’s amazing.”
Joining in on the Christmas Card Lane festivities, it seems that each house owner participates to spread joy to others.
“We’re a small town in Rancho Penasquitos and I think doing stuff like this really brings the community together,” Bell said.
While the preparatory stages for each house differ, the owners all agree that the week after Thanksgiving through the first week of December is a sufficient time to begin the decorating process.
“I start on Thanksgiving,”Morgan said. “Usually it’s done within a couple of weeks after that.”
Christmas Card Lane is a festive neighborhood with many lights and unique decor, prepared in practice of the emotions embodied by the holiday season: joy, happiness, and community.