By JASON CAMPBELL
209 staff reporter
RIVERBANK – It’s beginning to look at lot like Christmas.
Depending on where you’re looking.
While places like the Vintage Faire Mall are overrun with people and you’re likely walking half-a-mile just to get inside and then stand in line for two hours, there are other less-cluttered places in Modesto, and its surrounding communities, where you can enjoy a slice of the holidays with your loved ones without having to deal with the hassle or commercialization of the holiday.
Here are a few places you might want to check out if you’re feeling the Christmas spirit or need a recharge in that category:
*Christmas Tree Lanes, Ceres – For more than 50 years families on Henry Avenue and Vaughn Street have gone out of their way to create what essentially looks like a life-sized Christmas village. And instead of putting it on the mantle and telling nobody to touch it, you actually get to drive through and walk up to the amazing light displays that are all paid for by the homeowners themselves. The idea of a Christmas Tree Lane isn’t exclusive to this small community – less than two hours down the road in Fresno you’ll find one as well. But there’s something quaint and charming about the work that they put in to get one of Ceres’ biggest attractions up and running each and every year, and this one is no exception. To get there take Highway 99 south to the Whitmore Avenue exit and head east. Make a left on Caswell Avenue and the entrance will be on the right.
*Modesto residential Christmas lights, Modesto – Everybody knows what the Griswold house looked like in Christmas Vacation. But there are a few in Modesto can give it a run for its money. Through the website CaliforniaChristmasLights.com people can pull up pictures and addresses they can use to see displays of lights that are far and above what the average person will put out during the season. There are places like Light Tree Lane, located at 4004 Thornhill Way, that features a computer controlled light show that boats more than 50,000 LEDs, 688 strobe lights and a 27-foot mega tree. It also features two 32-foot simulated fireworks displays and is synchronized to a nearly 90 minute show set to music that can be picked up on FM radio in your car. And they use their traffic to generate donations to both Toys for Tots and the Salvation Army to benefit the less fortunate in the community. It’s not one that you’re going to want to miss.
*Morris Nursery’s Christmas Magic, Riverbank – If you’re searching for places to decorate the inside of your house instead of the outside of your house, this is the place you want to be. They have everything from toy trains to fully decorated Christmas trees to outfit your home with. Looking for a small Christmas house to add to your collection? They have those. If you’ve driven past but never been inside, it’s worth a stop. 1837 Patterson Road, Riverbank.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.