ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WDVM/WFXR) — Nothing brings people cheer like a Christmas card — but have you ever seen 30 life-sized holiday cards?
Well, now you can at “Holiday Card Lane,” otherwise known as E. Luray Avenue, in Alexandria.
The idea was created by Michigan native Rebecca VanZoeren, who used to visit the yearly display in Kalamazoo when she was a child. She decided to bring the tradition to her Del Ray neighborhood in 2014.
“We’ve lived here for many decades, but one year, I decided, ‘Why don’t we try to do some of those cards?’” said VanZoeren. “We put one up, and then we put two up, and then my neighbors all started putting them up.”
Now, the streets are lined with over 30 cards made of plywood and paint. The increase in cards from previous years comes from being at home due to COVID-19.
“The neighbor behind us said, ‘It’s just going to be so depressing this year. Since we can’t see our family, we should really make our neighborhood sparkle,’” said Gretchen Steenstra, an E. Luray Avenue resident.
Neighbors donated paints, craft supplies, and projectors to trace the designs onto the plywood. Then, they got to work.
“We live on an alley, and so over Thanksgiving weekend, we set up our alley as a painting station,” said Steenstra.
The designs have a wide variety, from Christmas card greetings to family pets. However, the biggest joy doesn’t come from the cards, the neighbors say, but the excitement from the children.
“To see them running up and down the sidewalks, looking at them all and saying which one is their favorite…it really has made the street and our neighborhood come alive,” said Wendy Moniz, another E. Luray Avenue resident.
VanZoeren hopes that other communities will begin to make cards of their own.
“I hope it continues. It’s just kind of a fun thing and I always liked it as a kid, and I really would like to see it happen all over Del Ray,” she said.
The neighbors say the display will be kept up until at least New Year’s, but who knows — they may keep them into 2021, to continue to spread hope.