Let There Be Lights: Sampling Canby’s Best Christmas Displays

A favorite holiday pastime for many a Canby resident is a festive drive — or stroll — through some of Canby’s most brightly decorated neighborhoods, especially with some Christmas tunes playing on the radio and perhaps even a thermos of hot cocoa handy.

Such journeys, I believe, are best enjoyed with only the vaguest destination in mind. Much joy is found in the exercise of exploration and the discovery of something new.

But, not everyone has that luxury. I certainly did not, in my task of putting together the Friends of the Canby Public Library‘s first-ever Canby Christmas Tour of Lights (in lieu of our more traditional Christmas Tour of Homes). I had to be in a little more choosy.

If you’re in a similar boat either because of limited time and resources, or you just want a short list of some of the best-decorated houses in town — this list will definitely get you started.

Santa’s Kitchen

Located in the 1400 block of North Juniper Street, this home’s eye-popping smorgasbord of inflatable outdoor Christmas decorations is sure to stop you in your tracks.

Stretching across the home’s entire front yard, the displays are dominated by a friendly, candy cane-gobbling dragon (its apron declares itself “Top Baker” and we’re not about to argue) and a 12-foot-tall Olaf from Frozen (“The swirls inside of him are winter magic,” according to my 6-year-old).

The Magic of Christmas

Hey — the house that, barely a month ago, was a raging hellscape of undead warriors cleans up nicely! As you can probably guess, illusionist Scott Anderson and his wife, Stephanie, like to go all out for the holidays.

Highlights of the display at their home in the 500 block of NW 14th Avenue include a walking gate in the shape of gold and silver ornaments, a Santa-copter and — in a second-story window — a view of the workshop at the North Pole.

Classic Christmas

For a classic take on the holiday season, head to the 1200 block of North Fir, where you’ll find this home, drenched in golden light. “We just love Christmas,” owner Heather Schloe says, by way of explanation.

As the daughter of Swan Island Dahlias owner Nicholas Gitts, Heather certainly has an eye for beauty — and it’s on full display this time of year. Highlights include the decorated trees, reindeer and wood art in the shape of the word “JOY” — which also reminds of the reason for the season.

Xmas Party Central

Another example of the inflatables stealing the show, the home we have affectionately dubbed “Party Central” features a wide array of delightful scenes you and your kids will love, including Santa bass fishing, rodeo riding and chucking snowballs at hapless reindeer.

Owner Donna Traaen told us they love putting up the displays every Christmas and have done so for years. It’s a lot of work, they admit but, soon, they plan to enlist the help of grandkids. Find it in the 700 block of Northeast 17th Avenue.

The Gingerbread House

Dominated by an inflatable gingerbread man and lights that perfectly complement the home’s architecture, I had dubbed this display in the 1800 block of North Lupine “The Gingerbread House” even before I knew that’s what children in the neighborhood call it as well.

The lights and ornaments decorating all the way to the top of the natural fir tree in the corner of the yard are also impressive.

In Memory of Clay

Already one of the most well-known lights displays in Canby, the story of this home on the corner of North and Ivy took a sad turn this year with the passing of owner and family patriarch Clay Fillis.

In his honor and memory, the family committed to continuing the display this year and, even more impressively, learning the complicated computer system that runs everything. Tune your car radio to 105.7 FM for the full effect.

Around the Globe

We dubbed this display on the corner of Baker and North Ash “Around the Globe” for the oversized snow globe featuring Santa and Frosty the Snowman, and also the eye-catching way the lights sprawl across two sides of this corner lot.

Easy to miss if you’re just heading out of town on nearby Knights Bridge Road — but you’ll kick yourself if you do.

Hearts & Hair Salon

Located prominently on Highway 99E (next to Wally’s Chinese Kitchen), the eye-popping displays at Hearts & Hair Salon are no secret.

But they’re definitely worth a closer look. If you have the time, pull on off the highway and really take in the details of this festive business taking full advantage of its enviable real estate.

Sasse Christmas

Finally, the display we have lovingly dubbed “Sasse Christmas” for owners Scott and Teresa Sasse. Teresa is more known for her work at Puddin’ River Chocolates — which is located on the same property at 1438 South Ivy.

But the lights are Scott’s pride and joy, and he works hard to put them up each year. Highlights include the replica of Santa’s sleigh (complete with reindeer) and the hand-painted wood cut-outs of Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Wait Park

Though the city’s beloved annual Light Up the Night event was made virtual this year due to Covid-19, the hard-working Canby Public Works Department spared no effort creating their usual beautiful display at downtown Wait Park.

Also check out the lighted trees and candy canes along North First Avenue and in the Civic Plaza next to City Hall.

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