A healthy start to a new year
SAN JOSE - Perched high on Mount Hamilton above San Jose is the Lick Observatory.
It's impossible to miss the Marsden home in the neighborhood off Crom Avenue just north of the Manteca Golf Course. It literally outshines all the houses at Greenview Place. The entire length of the house facing the street is dripping with all kinds of Christmas bling – blinking lights, chasing lights, dancing diode lights, a lighted choo-choo train, a red snowman, and Frosty the Snowman sporting a top hat. Proudly occupying a central location among all the outdoor decoration is a lighted American flag handmade by Alan Marsden.
"Okay everybody, it's time to go into the closet."
Whether it's Rockefeller Square in New York City or San Francisco's Union Square, Christmas trees are a staple of the holiday season found in cities and homes across the world. While Turlock's community tree may not tower in comparable sky scraper heights, it is a staple of the Central Valley town's annual holiday traditions since the early 1920s.
Yuletide memories of years past include heart and soul reflections of family life under living room Christmas trees, church time together and the special gifts of long ago.
In the mad, mad world of retail, the Christmas season starts right after back-to-school sales.
While hanging lights during the holiday season is an annual tradition for many families, it is often met with mixed feelings: Children love seeing the various lights while parents often find the task a dreaded duty.
Every year since 1961, Henry and Vaughn streets in Ceres have been transformed into a holiday wonderland. This year, Christmas Tree Lane was celebrated with a little something extra - snow.
The Brock family Christmas Lights which literally dominated the scene for weeks during this time of the year is gone for good. But there are still some in the Family City that's worth a gallon of gas to see and admire with the kids tow, or just for your own personal windshield viewing.
STOCKTON – Some of the most beautifully decorated places on this side of the 209 along this stretch near West Hammer Lane.
LATHROP – The colors erupt from the black LED board.
Is there a Santa Claus?
LATHROP – When the Lathrop City Council got together for their second meeting in November two weeks ago, they freed up their December schedule.
The Christmas spirit is contagious and can be found to be particularly catching in small towns where holiday events bring together community members, such as Turlock's Downtown Christmas Parade.
It's a city with a small-town charm. And that's just scratching the surface when it comes to the mining of all the visual and historical – among many other things – attractions that draw visitors in droves to the city of Jackson nestled in the heart of the Mother Lode. The proof is in the numbers. While this quaint and quiet city in Amador County is home to just 4,300 residents, the number swells up to more than 15,000 on the weekends when the tourist traffic is at its busiest.
Columbia State Park just outside of Sonora is a gem of a tourist attraction with its stage plays in the Fallon House Theatre in addition to its Main Street "City Hotel" and restaurant, gold panning and an occasional stage coach ride.
The cruising excitement of past years continues to be an integral part of Manteca's history as three longtime members of the community recalled where they were in the 1940s to the 1960s and what they were doing.
MODESTO - The spirit of vintage cars and cruising is eternally captured in Modesto: the hometown of George Lucas and location where famous film American Graffitti was shot just over 40 years ago. While Lucas' famed film may not be in theaters anymore, locals keep the spirit of American Graffiti alive through the annual summertime American Graffiti Festival presented by the North Modesto Kiwanis Club.
If you squint your eyes you can see a little bit of Al Nunes in Paul Le Mat's character from American Graffiti.