TORRANCE, Calif. – Every November, Bob Solomon digs into his garage and pulls out lots and lots of holiday lights. The long-time Torrance resident is getting ready to decorate his house for Christmas.
“If you do just a little bit of organizing like I put a little piece of string around it, then it’s easy to keep them,” Solomon said as he pulled out bundles of lights.
Solomon lives along Torrance’s “Candy Cane Lane,” known for its beautiful Christmas light displays, a tradition he started in 1984 after seeing his neighbor across the street put up lights in his trees during the holidays. Solomon and his wife, Diane, decided to ask other neighbors to do the same.
“So I told Diane, why don’t we print up a flyer and pass it out? Just to the neighbors on our block here and just ask them, just put the lights in the trees,” Solomon said. “And if they need help putting them up, there’s enough people in the neighborhood to lend a hand.”
That first-holiday lights display was so successful that Solomon said he decided to turn it into a block party, and about 1,000 people showed up.
“It never even dawned on us that it would get bigger than the event that we were doing,” he said. “So then the following year, of course, you know, the blocks on either side and down the way, they put the lights in the tree, and it grew,” he said.
Solomon has never missed a year of decorating, including building and wrapping huge holiday boxes, setting up stuffed animals, a tree, and a nativity scene.
“Everyone that comes down, you know, it’s relaxing. It’s the spirit of the season,” he said.
But this year, things didn’t go quite as planned. Solomon managed to get the lights on and put up the holiday boxes before a health scare put him in the hospital for two weeks. But he still had to carry on his holiday tradition.
“I wasn’t too worried about it because I knew one way or another, you know, I got help,” he said with a smile. “I have little elves.”
That help includes his family members, especially his wife, daughter, and grandson, who helped finish decorating alongside him just in time for Christmas.
Solomon is grateful he can still bring some cheer to visitors on Candy Cane Lane without breaking tradition while spending time with those close to his heart – his family. “This is what Christmas is all about for me,” he said.