Christmas festivities abide by COVID-19 guidelines

Residents decorate their homes for the holidays


Owners of San Francisco’s well-known Tom and Jerry Christmas house decorate the yard with lights and toys such as dancing dolls, a Ferris Wheel and stuffed animals. The annual Christmas displays started about 30 years ago.

Nina Gutierrez and Nicole Klein

WEB EXCLUSIVE As families are forced to rethink traditional holiday plans, some are taking their extra time at home to display lavish Christmas decorations on the inside and outside of their homes.

“Even when we spend the holidays in Florida, which we won’t be this year, we always decorate our house with tons of decorations,” junior Anneli Dolan said. “Being Swedish, we have straw horse decorations that we usually put up as tradition.”

Similar to Dolan, sophomore Grace Stermer also partakes in decorating during the holidays. Despite COVID-19 restrictions, many Christmas tree lots in San Francisco remain open. 

“Every year, my family buys a real tree from Delancey Lots in the City,” Stermer said. “Shopping at the lot wasn’t too different from past years except for the fact that we had to follow COVID-19 protocols.”

At Delancey Tree Lot on Van Ness Street, customers can choose to either organize a curb-side pickup or shop while keeping a 6-foot distance from others. The lot advises fewer family members to pick out a tree due to capacity constraints in an attempt to reduce the spread of coronavirus. 

“After we buy our tree, my siblings and I decorate it with ornaments and also add garlands and lights wrapped around our railing by our front door,” Dolan said. ”While we decorate, we often bake a lot of Swedish treats that are always on display in the kitchen.”

In addition to decorating the living room and dining room, some students choose to add holiday decor to their own bedrooms. Decorations include smaller-sized Christmas trees, red and green pillows and blankets, fairy lights and scented candles. 

“Normally, I do not decorate my room for Christmas but now with COVID-19, I’m in my room more often and wanted to make it a more pleasant place to be in,” junior Sara Ramelot said. “I bought Christmas pillows and put up lights along my closet and my headboard.”

Families can also visit San Francisco’s over the top houses such as The Gingerbread House in Ashbury Heights, the Eiffel Tower house on McAllister Street and the Tom & Jerry Victorian on Church Street and 21st Street. While some houses hang light displays, other homes such as the Tom & Jerry house decorate with a 50 foot tall Norfolk Pine tree, wrapped gifts and trains. 

“I’ve known Tom Taylor and Jerry Goldstein for years, a whole group of us helps out with the decorations,” Tom and Jerry’s family-friend Paul, who declined to give his last name, said. “It’s all privately funded and we consider it a gift to the neighborhood.”

Santa Claus won’t make an appearance to take photos with children this year due to COVID-19, according to Paul. However, their lights and the massive tree will still be on display as always. 

“One of the best parts of my holiday season is my family’s visit to the Tom and Jerry house,” Stermer said. “We are never disappointed by the production of the lit tree, the crazy colors of the toys and their handing out of candy canes to the kids.”