HOW LONG... and how intensely and with what sort of super-x-ray-bird vision must you stare at the sky to see the lights of Santa's sleigh? There are probably a number of various factors involved in that question, like whether it is a cloudy night, and whether Mr. Kringle is passing directly overhead the instant you look up, and how clearly you can discern dazzling object, such as sparkly sleighs, from a great distance. But there is a dazzling object you can spy from several miles away, if you look up, and you won't even need to time it to Christmas Eve, or a certain hour of the night. You will, however, need to start looking up, and in the direction of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, beginning on Sunday, Dec. 2. So, yes: You'll want to be in the Coachella Valley area, and in a pocket of the desert resort region that has a clear view up to the tram (so no peaks or hills in the way). What will you see? Okay, we'll spill the bulbs:
A 45-FOOT TREE, lit by 4,000 LED lights, will be glowing in grand fashion at the famous attraction's Mountain Station. If you know this higher-elevation terminus for the tram, you know that it sits at well-over 8,000 feet, so this really is a gaze-toward-the-sky (or nearly) situation. And a seasonally uplifting situation, too, for the tree has become one of the bright symbols of the valley region. The kick-off party on Dec. 2 will also be bright, with Eric and Lindsey Bennett, hosts of HGTV's "Desert Flippers," performing the flip-the-switch honors. The festive feel continues throughout December at the tram, with several special holiday happenings, including choir appearances and cameos by Santa Claus. After all, Mountain Station is closer to where Santa likes to fly, so it just makes sense that he'd say hello.
DETAILS... on this desert-sweet tradition? Gaze not up, but in the direction of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway site now.