This is not a block to be driven. One must park the car and walk the long block of St. Albans Road between Huntington Drive and Monterey in San Marino. Evergreens loom overhead—40 feet, 60 feet, fat and paunchy, lean and towering—all dressed in colored lights.
Most of the strands consist of the standard red, yellow, blue, and green lights, flowing from the pines’ peaks straight down, but one house goes against the grain with blue hued lights, the strands daring to loop-de-loop on a plain old deciduous tree. At first, we dismiss it, regard it as arrogant, but by the time we circle around it has become one of our favorites.
The street is wide, allowing the trees to flaunt their stuff. People stop and take pictures, parents hold up their kids; such as one father holding his little girl who’s dressed in Christmas red from sparkling Dorothy slippers on her feet to a holiday cloche on her head. She points at a large inflatable of Santa perched on a balcony and exclaims, “There’s Santa, again!” Santa number one, we assume, is the one on the second story porch at the end of the block that’s constructed out of wood and cloth, rather than blown into a standing position with hot air, and regales onlookers with a twist and wave.
Couples stroll, family’s laugh and talk over one another, crowding together to snap a pic. Kids skip, a few dance, and a lot of little necks are bent all the way back as eyes follow the lights up and up and up to the tippy tops. We even hear an audible intake of air as a young boy rounds the corner and catches his first glimpse.
This block of St. Albans is wondrous and magical. Come immerse yourself.