Allen Flanders really gets in the holiday spirit. For years he was able to share those feelings with Scripps Ranch neighbors and friends. In December 1993 he ushered in the season with a brilliantly lit 30-foot snowman (above left) on his back fence. It could be seen from Mira Lago Terrace, Scripps Lake Drive, and his own street, Scripps Cape Vista Point. In 1994 his creative muse turned the holiday greeting into a 30-foot Christmas tree. In 1995 he honored a request from his 7-year-old daughter, Lyndsey (now 20), and constructed a 30-foot Santa Claus. Santa reigned for many years.

He became disheartened one year while dismantling the December mega-greeting card. "I can't wait a whole year to do this again!" he told the family, and vowed to commemorate every holiday. Word spread about the spectacular displays, and people came from all over the Ranch to view them. The SRCA recognized him for his contribution to community spirit at Recognition Night.

Valentine's Day features a giant heart with an arrow through it, Halloween has a smiling jack-o-lantern, the 4th of July sees Old Glory gloriously lit up, and the 20-foot Easter Bunny twinkles with pink eyes. Special occasions are celebrated as well: when the Padres went to the World Series, the pumpkin sported the team's logo. One year a lightning bolt (above right) announced that the Chargers were headed for the Super Bowl.

He builds the structures in his garage and enlists the help of wife Cathy, neighbors, and friends to carry them into the backyard. They are built of 10-foot aluminum conduit, half-inch copper plumbing pipes, and guy wires. Recycling is employed from holiday to holiday, such as the snowman's head turning into an Olympic ring, its bottom becoming the basis of the next year's pumpkin.

Bad news struck "exterior decorator" Allen Flanders when a resident on another street complained about Allen's "season's greetings." He was forced to discontinue his celebrations. Good news arrived more recently when Roger Lavelle bought the former neighbor's house and gave Allen his blessing to resume the decorations. Santa Claus once again holds court this year!

Lyndsey is a college student in San Luis Obispo now and won't be able to help this year, but son Derek lives nearby. The Flanders family has lived in Scripps Ranch since 1989. They invite the community to say hello to their Santa. Best viewing: end of Mira Lago Terrace, Scripps Lake Drive, and Scripps Cape Vista Point.

Elinor Reiss