I spent the first 15 years of my life as a resident of St. Joseph, Michigan. Each year, for as long as anyone remembers, the city placed Santa’s house on a corner in downtown St. Joe. The arrival of Santa’s house was a thrill for kids, because they knew fun times were around the corner. Santa’s house that I visited in the early 1970s was the same one that my dad visited in the 1940s and it’s the same house they visit today. Those visits to see Santa and the decorations throughout the downtown area made those early Christmases magical for me.

My family came to Coronado on vacation when I was 10 years old. I remember seeing the Christmas trees lit up on Orange Avenue for the first time. Back then, the pine trees on Orange Avenue looked healthier and the lights were large, colorful C9 incandescent bulbs. The trees were bright and beautiful.

A friend who lives in San Diego attended the tree lighting ceremony with me last Friday night. When the lights were turned on, she remarked “that’s it?” She has a point – the city Christmas tree at Rotary Park has room for improvement. It’s not bright, the lights are rather small and sparse for a tree of its size, but I do appreciate that the lights were wrapped around the tree this year, rather than strung up and down, as in recent years.

I have seen some really imaginative displays around San Diego this year. One worth mentioning is at the Del Mar Highlands Town Center in Carmel Valley. There, they wrapped their palm trees with lights to make them look like candy canes. Also, they have decorations strung between palm trees that resemble mini fireworks. If you type this URL into your web browser and watch the first few seconds of the video, you can see what I am describing https://tinyurl.com/54acc2ny -- I could see some of our light posts decorated like this.

I think our downtown holiday decorations could use a refresh next year, to create a more magical experience for those of us who call Coronado home, and especially for the children of Coronado.

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