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Christmas Tree Lane in Palo Alto: a neighborhood tradition

Photo by Lillian Clark

Under the red lights on Fulton Street, senior Alden Backstrand walks down the festive, brightly lit “Christmas Tree Lane.” Backstrand, who lives on the street, has fond memories of both decorating her own house and surveying the street with her family to embrace the Christmas spirit. 

“My favorite thing to do in Palo Alto during the holiday season is to walk down Christmas Tree Lane with my family,” Backstrand said. “Every year, my entire family walks down the street on Christmas Eve, and it is one of my favorite traditions.”

Having lived on Christmas Tree Lane since 2010, Backstrand and her family have seen the street evolve over the years and always loved helping to decorate it.

“I have loved growing up on Christmas Tree Lane, and every year, my family sets up the house together,” Backstrand said. “I think that my street really comes together and works hard to spread holiday cheer and makes it a place people want to come to visit year after year.”

As a result of her closeness to the street, she thinks everyone should give it a visit. 

“If you want to get into the holiday spirit or have quality family time, it’s a great place to go,” she said.

While senior Ryan Hudacek celebrates both Jewish and Christian holidays throughout the holiday season, she agrees that Christmas Tree Lane is a great holiday activity regardless of religious affiliation. 

“If one person were visiting Palo Alto, they should definitely visit Christmas Tree Lane,” Hudacek said. 

As for non-Christmas activities during the holidays, Hudacek said it is important to be involved with people who share similar interests or celebrate the same holidays. 

“I think the most important thing when looking for holiday activities is to be involved locally with others,” Hudacek said.

Economics teacher and longtime Palo Alto resident Debbie Whitson suggests taking a train up to San Francisco if you have the time, but she also said a walk in your neighborhood is a great local activity.

“I would say a walk in the evening to see the neighborhood lights with a hot cup of spiced cider or hot chocolate,” Whitson said. “We have friends of various backgrounds and religions who would enjoy this kind of outing.”  

Whitson also suggests Stanford Shopping Center for something that doesn’t involve the classic neighborhood Christmas lights stroll. 

Whitson said, “I would also suggest visiting the Stanford Shopping Center with all the lights and decorations, and don’t miss peeking into Sigona’s Market with all the special holiday foods on display.”

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