Right down Santa Claus Lane

I used to scoff at that one line in “Here Comes Santa Claus,” because who would name a street Santa Claus Lane? The answer: Hollywood, California, at least temporarily:

Each November beginning in 1928, extravagant holiday decorations transformed a one-mile stretch of Hollywood Blvd. between Vine and La Brea into Santa Claus Lane.

The brainchild of businessman Harry Blaine and the Hollywood Boulevard Association, which promoted the thoroughfare as the “world’s largest department store,” Santa Claus Lane lured shoppers away from downtown’s dominant Broadway retail district with winking lights, daily processions featuring a reindeer-drawn sleigh, and plentiful, brightly decorated Christmas trees.

Today, eighty-four years later, and sixty-six years after Gene Autry commemorated the event in song, there is still a Hollywood Christmas Parade each year, though since 1978 it’s been held on the first Sunday after Thanksgiving, instead of just before. Think of that parade, and not the mid-October arrival of seasonal merchandise at your local big-box store, as the beginning of the holidays.

(With thanks to Nancy Friedman, who pointed me toward the details.)

1 comment

  1. McGehee »

    23 December 2012 · 10:29 pm

    North Pole, Alaska’s main drag is Santa Claus Lane, but that was a choice.

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