MODESTO -- Rudolph's "nose so bright" looks downright dim compared to the way some holly-jolly folks do up their homes' exteriors for the holidays.
Local lovers of Christmas-season light shows know they can count on certain homes or entire streets Modesto's Thornhill Way, Turlock's Oxford Court, Ceres' Christmas Tree Lane to bring a warm glow to a wintry night.
The 25th annual Ceres Christmas Tree Lane opening and festival was delayed by rain but is set for tonight. The festival at Smyrna Park will be held from 5:30 to 7:30, concluding with the lights going up at the area's biggest organized holiday display on nearby Henry and Vaughn streets. "My mom, Shirley Conover, lives on Christmas Tree Lane (at 1921 Vaughn St.)," Debi Campbell wrote in an e-mail to The Bee. "She is 79, so her kids decorate for her, and she makes the pot of soup. Her lights are beautiful!"
Oxford Court, with its popular Santa Express miniature elevated train that chugs from home to home, is up and running. "Now that the storm has passed, pack up the kids and bring them out," the residents say on their Facebook page. "We run every night from 6-9! Looking forward to seeing you all this holiday season."
And 4004 Thornhill Way, which had one of the first and still among the best local light shows synchronized to music, is at the center of a goodwill effort that continues tonight. The "Lightazmic" show (www.lightazmic.com) includes 60,000-plus LED lights and 684 strobe lights and tonight is host to a Salvation Army toy and food drive from 5:30 to 9:30.
"I took family from Guatemala to this neighborhood last year and we were wowed," Susanna Mendieta Beasley, Salvation Army toy-drive chairwoman, told The Bee in an e-mail. "It was spectacular. ... This husband-and-wife team, and some of the neighbors, put on a 'must-see' light show."
We asked readers to share their recommendations of streets to visit this month.
Sandra Stroud urges folks to check out 2030 Golf Road, Turlock. "Carl Grubb turned 80 years old this year and has his Christmas Light display ready for the season," she wrote in an e-mail. "He does it all himself and delights in adding new things and making changes that make it more beautiful than the year before. It is most certainly a sight to see and one that will bring a smile to your face!"
Proud son Grant Kutch steers people to the "great Christmas light display" at his parents' Jamestown home. "The address is 10833 Golf Links Road. They open their property to guests to walk through and enjoy the lights for free! They have a petting zoo, a large miniature- house village and much more."
Sabrina Cherry told us on Facebook: "589 Mercedes Ave. in Manteca is the best one I've seen this year so far!"
And another reader recommends 10213 Atlas Court, Oakdale. "Spectacular light and music show! You'll be happy you made the trip."
Following are these and other suggested addresses. Some of them are featured on the website California Christmas Lights (www. lightsofthevalley.com), which has maps, photos and ratings.
Have a place you'd like to share with readers? Email email@example.com with an address.
View 2012 Christmas Lights Map in a larger map
MODESTO3225 Plantation Court
1500 Sunrise Ave.
5225 Garst Road
2720 Lake Front Court
3033 Coffee Road
Amestoy Court at Rothchild Drive
3412 Colonial Drive
237 Melbourne Drive
1424 W. Roseburg Ave.
1617 Groveton Way
3124 Esta Ave.
821 Massera Way
CERESChristmas Tree Lane (area of Henry Avenue and Vaughn Street)
2705 Dale Ave.
JAMESTOWN10833 Golf Links Road
MANTECA589 Mercedes Ave.
OAKDALE10213 Atlas Court
RIVERBANK5831 Lipizzan Court
TURLOCK2030 Golf Road
2530 Deanna Court