My Christmases

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A majestical place filled with working elves, jubilant reindeer, and that easily recognizable smirk of the jolliest man on earth; yes, Candy Cane Lane was the ideal place to celebrate Christmas Eve for a starry eyed six year old, or atleast it used to be.

I don't remember my first time traveling along that dazzling, windy road, but I do remember that it became a tradition. Every Christmas, my Mom would pack me in a bundle of sweaters, jackets, mittens, and hats, plop me in the back seat of our Toyota, then seat herself up front. Daddy, on the other hand, would already be buckled in the driver's seat, hands on the wheel and ready to go. Fifteen minutes later, the three of us would be at the beginning of Candy Cane Lane, usually behind a pack of other cars, all impatiently waiting to see this amazing place. Then, as the line moved inwards, the most spectacular things could be seen; glowing snowmen, trotting reindeer, thomas the toy engine choo-chooing and musical elves singing christmas songs, every lawn was filled with them. Hundreds of children filled the sidewalks. Neighbors and friends gawking at their own christmas display. As we slowly drive down the road, more and more lawns and houses decorated by thousands of colorful lights aglow could be seen. The whole sight was wondrous, and for six year old me, it was the best place on earth.

My family did this for the next five Christmases, however, as years passed, something began to change. Candy Cane Lane had been one of the most joyful, happy and one of the most populated streets in Pacific Grove. Year after year, more extravagant decorations than the previous years' would be set up and the number of visitors would grow. The atmosphere of this street was the main reason my family started our small tradition. Then along came Christmas 2003, when everything changed. As normal, my mother bundled me up in jackets, hats, and whatever else that would keep me warm (even at eleven, I was still her baby). My dad was sitting in the driver's seat, ready to go, and we were off. Excited, I couldn't wait to see the new displays of Candy Cane Lane. However, there wasn't line of cars when we arrived at the beginning of the street, and there didn't seem to be as many people as before. Slowly driving down the street, we began to see more pedestrians, but they didn't seem too interested in the lawn displays, mainly because the displays were not as spectacular as I had expected. There were less musical elves, only two glowing snowmen, and I couldn't see any trotting reindeers. It seemed as though the entire neighborhood forgot to celebrate christmas. My parents were just as shocked as I was.
"Well, dears, it seems as though times are changing."
My dad was right, the times were changing. But I couldn't understand why all the joy and happiness of the holiday season had suddenly vanished. Were people so busy with their jobs and social life that they simply forgot, or were times really changing where a place like candy Cane Lane was only a memory?
We left Candy Cane Lane that night dissapointed and disheartened, and when the next Christmas eve came along, we decided not to visit the once infamous little street.
This past year, I drove by Candy Cane Lane one more time to see anything had changed, if maybe the joy had been brought back. I was disappointed when all I saw was a small street lined with black trees and dark houses, a street that had once awed hundreds.





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