A group of Kennewick women rely on their business-savvy skills to keep the neighborhood’s long-standing Tri-City traditions alive.
Debie Britton, Sandy Nettleton and Dayna Faultersack are organized women who are very serious about transforming the Kennewick area into Christmas Carol Lane.
Six years ago, women revived a holiday tradition that dates back to the 1960s.
In the Concord Heights neighborhood of southern Kennewick (between 27th and Garfield streets 23rd and 26th), a homeowner is displaying a plywood-sized songboard featuring Christmas carols in their front yard. Each one is unique to the house.
The development consists of 95 residential units with approximately 70 participating units.
Many people decorate their songboards with lights, inflatables, or cutouts to match the carol theme.
At the Britton home, a songboard reads, “All I Want For Christmas Are Two Front Teeth,” and features wood cutouts of chipmunks and David Seville.
A home with a songboard for “The Most Wonderful Time of Year” features characters from the movie “Elves.” Another house has a “Frozen” theme and is “a sight to behold,” Britton said.
Those driving out to check out the neighborhood shouldn’t expect a dazzling experience with streaming music via radio stations and Clark Griswold-level light displays.
“We’re not a business. We’re a neighborhood we enjoy,” Faltersak said.
The women of Christmas Carol Lane encourage visitors to look through the eyes of a child.
“What we found was a dark night with a spotlight on the songboard. It’s still very magical,” said Britton, who remembers visiting Lane as a child. .
Faltersach was driving around 17 years ago and wanted to be a part of this magic when he found a house for sale.
“We bought the house because we wanted to be on Christmas Carol Lane,” she said.
New families moving into the neighborhood will receive a welcome letter explaining what life in Lane will look like during the holidays.
“You have moved in close proximity to people who care about each other. Welcome!! Please come and join us. We are having so much fun,” the letter reads.
When Britton bought the house more than 37 years ago, her sales contract required it to be decorated with a songboard, she said.
Today, homeowners don’t have to participate and can tend their yards as often as they like.
“As you know, a lot of real estate is moving. A lot of young people have moved into the area and they have really embraced this revitalization over the last six years. It’s happening,” Britton said.
revival of lane
With no system in place to educate newcomers in the neighborhood and help those in need update or post signs, this tradition has lost momentum over the years.
A retired cashier, Nettleton held a community meeting about six years ago that was attended by 40 people.
Three women connected and started mobilization.
They set up a website, a public Facebook page, and a private Facebook group for neighbors.
Faultersack, a substitute teacher who teaches at the Mid-Columbia Partnership, has created a playlist of her favorite songs from A Christmas Carol Lane on Spotify, Pandora, and YouTube.
Nettleton, who has lived in the neighborhood since 2013, turned his garage into a neighborhood workshop where people can stop by and paint songboards.
Britton called Nettleton “our best cheerleader” and “an easygoing person” with whom he could develop connections.
In the weeks leading up to Christmas, work parties are held in the neighborhood, knocking on fence posts and installing plywood songboards for those in need.
Over the past six years, the group has created and produced approximately 54 songboards.
Faultersack cites Britton’s organizational and encouraging nature as key to the project’s success.
After all, Britton has experience running a business. She owns her Tri-Cities Diesel in Pasco, and she took over her 53-year-old family business from her father over 30 years ago. This is a full service pump and injector rebuild facility that also provides engine diagnostics for diesel her pickups.
The neighborhood gathers around Christmas, but also celebrates other holidays.
Britton keeps her clipboard handy because she’s already thinking about winter during the hot summer days.
Pass the form if you want to exchange songboards or change songs. She shares her welcome letter with a list of ways people can help.
Neighbors bring potluck and share winter chestnut roasts around the fire pit. Some years Santa will stop by.
“We take a hayride around the block and sing,” Britton said.
They participate in the Hometown Holiday Parade in downtown Kennewick.
they take care of each other. One year, her neighbor needed her help to get her husband home from the hospital during a snowstorm and asked for her help. Within 15 minutes, three men were shoveling the driveway.
The lost dog was reunited with its owner after another neighbor found it and posted it on a Facebook group.
Those who live in the lane refer to where their neighbors live on the carol songboard rather than the house number.
“I’ve had a lot of people say, ‘We don’t have neighbors like this anymore,'” Britton said.
The three women are wearing bright red Christmas Carol Lane T-shirts. A neighbor bought her a T-shirt that said “Christmas Carol Lane Police”.
They know it’s humor, but they’re patrolling the neighborhood to stay connected and embrace the role of Christmas Carol Lane shining brightly.
“This is what we do,” Britton said.
Go: christmascarollane.org or find us on Facebook @ChristmasCarolLane.