By Caleb Lunetta
Signal Senior Staff Writer
They’re athletes, professionals and/or employees for 11 months a year, but for that single solitary annual bookend — the month of December — they aspire to be creatives.
For decades, people have flocked to various spots in the Santa Clarita Valley to see Christmas displays and lights, and it’s all due to the tireless, and sometimes months-long, efforts by some of those who regularly catch the Christmas spirit.
Red, blue, green and any mixture in between colored lights dot the sky, familiar children’s and Christmas characters stand life-size on people’s lawns, and Christmas carolers sing to passersby as those perusing the lights clutch hot chocolate in hand.
It’s holiday light and season in the Santa Clarita Valley.
When asked when she and her boyfriend, Bret Paris, start decorating for the Christmas season, Valencia resident Robyne Roberson doesn’t miss a beat: Nov. 1.
“We start the day after Halloween,” said Roberson, who said she has been extensively decorating her 23235 Cuestport Drive home since moving there four years ago. “As soon as we take down the Halloween stuff, we start putting up Christmas.”
“We can’t park our cars in the garage because the garage is storage for decorations,” she added.
Before moving to their Cuestport home, Roberson said she had been decorating her home for decades. And even with the move, each year the decorations, lights and spectacle get bigger.
“This year we added more. We’ve pretty much completely covered the roof of the house with lights,” said Roberson. “We have a music synchronizer that flashes the lights in our trees out there to the music that plays in the yard. It plays several different Christmas tunes and the lights blink.”
Also on display are various cherished holiday characters, such as the Grinch, an angel, some reindeer and a giant nutcracker. When asked why she and her boyfriend do it — he, a professional golfer and writer, and she who works in the optical field — year after year, she says it’s all worth it once seeing their guests’ faces.
“People will bring their little kids; they’ll go on walks and they’ll walk their dogs by and they’ll bring their little kids or their grandkids by,” said Roberson. “And they just look at this house. Like they’re standing in front of Disneyland.”
“They love it and I like to make people happy like that,” she added.
When asked why she thinks there’s an attraction to Christmas lights, Roberson said she believes people love to see the artistic vision or creativity of another individual. For instance, in addition to the newly added musical performance, as well as their traditional characters, Roberson and boyfriend went so far as to carve and paint their own candy canes this year.
“It’s kind of like a personal art display,” Roberson said. “We get out there and we create a display that there’s no two that are the same; everybody does it a little bit different.”
Roberson said that between her 150- and 300-light strings, she has more than 10,000 lights going on top of her house. Having such high wattage and financial investment is not unique to the Roberson-Paris household, however, as there is an entire community within a community devoted to the Christmas light artform here locally.
For example, on Wakefield Court, also known as Wakefield Wonderland during this time of year, in years past there have been staggering numbers to showcase the holiday spirit. Among the 41 homes, there are roughly 50,000 icicle lights strung between the homes, millions of light bulbs decorating the homes, and some 7,000-8,000 visitors per year.
For decades, the neighbors of the Saugus community have been inviting people to their street and this year are working to philanthropically assist Bridge to Home, Santa Clarita’s only year-round homeless shelter.
As it has done in years past, Santa Clarita Transit is once again offering residents and visitors alike to join on a holiday light tour, promising to show attendees, the “brightest and awe-inspiring displays.”
“The city of Santa Clarita is excited to once again offer the popular holiday light tour,” said Carrie Lujan, spokeswoman for the city. “Guests can hop aboard the historic trolley for a dazzling display of holiday lights designed by some of the most festive members of our community.”
This year, transit plans to stop at the following streets along their own light tour, but a number of others are set to still be lit up even if not included on the list: Woodfield Place, Clearidge Drive, Homestead Place and Angelica Place.
Trips will be offered Dec. 16-18 from 6 to 9 p.m. each day.
Holiday light tour trips depart approximately every 30 minutes between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Tickets are first-come, first-served, and can be purchased upon boarding for $3 per person or free with the donation of canned food or other essential items for the Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry.
“Don’t forget to stop by Old Town Newhall to see the magnificent Christmas tree adorned with more than 3,000 ornaments, as well as the picture-perfect photo ops up and down Main Street,” Lujan added.