Tuesday, May 26, 2015

X is for Xmas in Paso Robles

Before my Christian brothers and sisters get upset thinking I'm trying to take the name of Christ out of Christmas, I would refer you to the origins of Xmas as explained in Wikipedia. 

Nativity in December in Riverbank Tract, Paso Robles, © B. Radisavljevic

Xmas is  a sort of shorthand using the X, which is the first letter of the Greek word for Christ as a symbol for the name of Christ and so it means Christ Mass, which in common usage we have shortened to Christmas. I have used the shortened term here for obvious reasons. I didn't want to talk about where to get an X-ray in the North County, even though I have been X-rayed several times in the past year and even have photos of my X-rays to prove it.

Christmas is more fun. The City of Paso Robles has its own big celebration in the park for the lighting of the Christmas Tree and the singing of carols. I have never been able to attend that.

In my own neighborhood, the Riverbank tract, the neighbors decorate their homes in some creative ways. The nativity photo at the top, taken in 2014, comes from a home on Sandbar Court that has had a spectacular display every year I can remember. In 2010 I even made a video of it, since it was full of movement and music. It has gotten even better since I made this. I just haven't made any more videos since 2010.

As far as I'm concerned, the most wonderful Paso Robles Christmas party is the Vine Street Victorian Showcase. It's the ultimate block party, except that it occupies several blocks which are closed to motor vehicles during the few hours of fun after dark. All the Victorian houses are decorated with lights. The community participates in a big way with singers, dancers, story tellers, and free hot chocolate, coffee, popcorn, and other treats offered to those walking by.

Visitors can hear almost any music style, but I tend to pay the most attention to the traditional carolers. People walk along until they find a performance or activity they want to stop and listen to, watch, or participate in. There is a snow slide, a Grinch House, and the biggest attraction -- the house of Ebeneezer Scrooge. He comes out and interacts with the crowd as they try to change his mind about Christmas.  On each block, there are several different points of interest. It's a Christmas smorgasbord of sights and sounds.

In 2013 I took my video camera and tried to pick up the highlights -- the parade warm-up, the display of the Morning Star Youth Ranch (this links to a professional video on the ranch's work with rescued horses and troubled youth), Scrooge interacting with the crowd, the Grinch, and some great choral music. Here's my video.

If you ever come to Paso Robles during the Christmas season, you won't want to miss the Vine Street Victorian Showcase. It will entertain you whether you prefer to write Christmas or Xmas.

How does your town celebrate Christmas?
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