Last night we attended the oldest large-scale Christmas tree lighting ceremony in the United States. Santa Rosa Avenue, also known as Christmas Tree Lane, in my town of Altadena is decked out each Christmas with 10,000 lights through deodars that are more than a century old. Last night was the 91st annual lighting ceremony.
While you can drive down Santa Rosa Avenue any time after Christmas Tree Lane is lit in December, it is only during the lighting ceremony that you can walk under the deodars, as Altadena isn’t known for its sidewalks. There is something magical about strolling under the tree boughs and looking up to see the colored lights. It always brings the spirit of Christmas into my heart and makes me so thankful to live in this charming, traditional town. The lights will be up through January 1, 2012.
Deodars have been a staple in Altadena since 1883 when John P. Woodbury introduced them from Italy to the little town on the hillside above Pasadena. I have one, myself, in my front yard. Woodbury planted them up what was then to be the driveway to his future estate. While he never built his mansion, the deodars remained and became Santa Rosa Avenue. It wasn’t until 1920, however, that the idea of lighting the deodars came to fruition. Christmas Tree Lane, along with another 1920s Altadena tradition, the Star of Palawoo, shines brightly each year in Altadena.
I decked out for the occasion in a ‘40s wool dress and my new galoshes. Yes, galoshes. While it wasn’t quite cold enough, they looked adorable and I had to try them out. Luckily for me, I have a pair of shoes that fit inside. My 1930s coat with soutache braid kept me warm and toasty.
Make Altadena’s Christmas Tree Lane a part of your holiday tradition.
Altadena’s Christmas Tree Lane
Dusk to 10pm – Weekdays
Dusk to midnight – Holidays and Weekends