Certain Santa Claritans have been making it very challenging for me to be merry this Christmas. Don’t get me wrong—I still heart you all. But when I’m in a drive-thru line and forced to sit behind a Mercedes Benz crossover with a license plate holder reading “Two princesses, One stressed out queen” and two DVD screens playing Dora the freakin’ Explorer for the two little princesses while the driver (A.K.A. “stressed out queen”) is trying to talk on her cell phone and order at the same time, well, I have to try harder than normal to keep the spirit of the season in my heart.In any case, we were in the drive-thru line to get sustenance for a tour of Christmas light displays, a family tradition that has changed little in two decades. As I ate some fries and the nightmarish Mercedes began to fade from my mind, I came to another unfortunate realization. Every year, it gets just a little bit harder to see lights as ever more valley homes fall behind the fortress-like walls of gated communities.
Other communities proved more conducive to light viewing. After admiring the efforts of hundreds of Claritans, I finally decided on my three favorite homes. Enjoy, and Merry Christmas Eve!