‘Christmas Street’ an annual tradition spanning nearly 70 years

Posted at 9:48 PM, Dec 14, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-14 23:48:44-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- It's been a tradition for nearly 70 years; every December, a group of neighbors take it upon themselves to transform Glen Arbor Drive in Salt Lake City into "Christmas Street."

John Godfrey Jr. is one of the residents of “Christmas Street,” and he said this is the 69th year they have carried on the tradition.

“Most people turn off their headlights and then just go only on their parking lights," he said of those who come to visit the display.

The displays range from teddy bears with snowflakes to fire breathing dragons, and the work is all voluntary, with those who participate considering it a gift for the community.

“My parents moved here, and we immediately knew that we had to join the crew,” Godfrey said.

Godfrey said what drives him to decorate every year is much more than just the pressure of living on a street which happened to be named “Christmas Street” long ago. He said he is driven by the smiles on strangers' faces, which are illuminated in the glow of thousands of tiny lights.

“I continue to add lights all the way up until Christmas Eve,” he said. "…Everybody gets so excited about it."

Jennifer Whitaker is a first-time visitor to the street.

“I love it,” she said. “I think it's very charming. It's kind of a nice way to get into the Christmas spirit.”

Whitaker said she would like to visit Christmas Street again in the future, and Godfrey said that’s not uncommon, as the tradition tends to unite generations.