Families have many traditions when it comes to this time of year. For many, that includes a drive in the family car to take a look at the Christmas displays. In some neighborhoods, some worry those displays aren't as bright as they once were.
For most of the year, you'd call a Sioux Falls street South Day Avenue. But at this time of the year, it goes through a transformation. That work creates Candy Cane Lane, one of several neighborhoods where those who live on the street work together and decorate for Christmas using a theme.
"Yeah, I take a lot of pride and a lot of time and effort is involved, you know. People are coming by and occasionally stopping to take a picture. It makes it all that much more worthwhile and I'll do it again next year or add a little bit more next year," Aron Eastman said.
Eastman and his family have lived on Candy Cane Lane for seven years; however, the neighborhood tradition is said to date back to the 1960s.
"My neighbors have told me stories that have been here a long time ago where there'd be cars backed up to the 18th Street Bridge over here to come down here," Eastman said.
That's a far cry from what the neighborhood now sees for visitors. Eastman is worried about what's becoming of what was once a bright spot in the season.
"I believe Candy Cane Lane was the first lane in Sioux Falls, that makes it a little more, you know, keep the tradition alive and don't let it fade away," Eastman said.
But now a Sioux Falls business has stepped in with an effort to reverse that trend. Their goal is to put a map of every lane in Sioux Falls in the palm of your hand.
"I used to take my family out to the lanes and enjoyed that tradition and coming out and driving around. There was a map in Sioux Falls for a while and the map disappeared. So, the elves at Complete Media decided, you know what, let's bring that tradition back and create a map so families can go around Sioux Falls and find the lanes and enjoy that holiday tradition too," Matt Luke with Complete Media said.
So in addition to the printed map that's available in some Sioux Falls stores, Complete Media also created the Dakota Holidays website and Facebook page to bring the tradition into the modern era. The online map is also mobile friendly, meaning you can map the lanes on your smart phone.
"You can submit your lane or your house right online and we'll update the map in real time and make the changes on the fly," Luke said.
The website also lists Christmas-related events and even has a page dedicated to organizations that can use your support for the holidays. Luke hopes the effort brightens the season.
"The map disappeared for a couple years and we're doing our best to bring it back. If we can get the community to find the map and see it, they can keep driving out and the people who are putting up the lights see the traffic and hopefully it reciprocates and keeps on going," Luke said.
As for Eastman and many of his neighbors, they're hoping the promotion can help shine some light on their work and ensure this tradition has a twinkling future.
"I won't quit decorating. I'll keep it going, even if I'm the last house on the block lit," Eastman said.
KELOLAND News also put together a Holiday page with a list of Holiday Light Displays, as well as photo galleries and a list of organizations that you can give back to. Check out our Holiday Central Page.