There once was a Christmas house on Harlan Drive in Redding. Santa greeted everyone in the evenings. Hot chocolate and cookies were handed out to all visitors.
But that ended when the Carr Fire swept along Harlan Drive last week, wiping out the magical Christmas house, along with its yard and surrounding neighbors.
Kimberly and Matt Stevens of Redding are the home's owner. Last year their Christmas house display won 1st place in Redding. For years, vehicles rolled up and down Harlan Drive to get a look at the beautiful Christmas lights and enchanting displays in the front yard.
A GoFundMe site has been set up to give the Stevens the resources to build their Christmas display as soon as possible. Click here to go to the Stevens' the GoFundMe page.
Here's what the Stevens said on their GoFundMe page:
On Thursday the 26th 2018 our house at 3085 Harlan Dr. Redding CA burnt to the ground in the Carr fire, taking all of our Christmas decorations with it. Over the last 10 years we have opended our house for all to come and visit, sit by the fire and have Coco and cookies. Santa is there for the kids to visit. Please help my wife Kim and us rebuild Christmas for all to come and visit. Thank you for your help. Matt, Kim and family.
I hope you're one of the many people who had a chance to see what the Stevens created each year to delight the community.
The Stevens' home was especially popular with families with small children. For free, the public could get out their vehicles, visit Santa and you got out of your car, you could visit Santa and have your picture taken with him inside his living room (which was the front end of the home's' garage). You could stroll through the yard that was sparkling at night with the magical wonder of Christmas, while sipping hot chocolate and snacking on a variety of delicious cookies.
There was no shortage of smiles and laughter. Now, vehicles that drive past the Stevens' home will see nothing but ash and debris. Like mourners, people slowly cruise through the charcoal graveyard with reverence for the homes and memories families lost to the fire.
That Christmas house had sentimental value for me. Toby, my last beloved dog, was dressed as Santa and sat in Santa's chair. I made my 2015 Christmas card with photos taken there. I sent Santa's family one of the cards.
They told me last year that they loved the card, and always put it on their fireplace mantel at Christmastime. Last year in 2017 I took photos of friends with Santa. I also took photos of my dog Bodie with Santa, and took pictures of Bodie throughout the yard's wonderland. Bodie, too, sat in Santa's chair. One of the picture's was posted on Facebook as a promotional photo, for a Vietnam Veterans of America program in Shasta County called 'Shasta Remember Everyone Deployed'. The program sends boxes of goodies to those stationed away from their loved ones.
It was numbing to drive back and visit the area after the Carr Fire destroyed the neighborhood with such burning fury. Santa's family were very nice, humble, and welcoming people. They lost thousands of dollars worth of homemade decorations and lights that were turned into ash. Here's pictures of before and after, of the Christmas house that was once on Harlan Drive - a place that brought joy to thousands of people over the years. Any homes you see in the background of the pictures were destroyed by the fire.
My heart breaks for all those who lost homes, and for Santa's family who lived in that wonderful Christmas house on Harlan Drive.