As two friends – 9-year-old Connor Lee and 11-year-old Luke Aloe – were riding down St. Albans Road lined with towering lighted trees, they questioned why their San Marino street didn’t have a similar custom.
“I wondered, ‘Why doesn’t Lorain Road have a tradition?,’” Connor said. “Then my mom told me the story of how it used to have one.”
“We had gone out to dinner,” Connor’s mom, Lisa Nguyen said. “It was Connor, Luke and Brooke (Luke’s sister). I was sharing with them the story of how they used to have Christmas candles on Lorain Road.”
She said the practice had died off as new families moved into the neighborhood throughout the years.
“We really wanted to bring it back,” Luke said.
Luke and his father then shopped for supplies such as metal tubes, paint and tiki torches so he and Connor could make kits for neighbors.
Since the boys found out about the candle lighting tradition on Dec. 2, they have had three different rounds of making candle kits for neighbors to place on top of a brick pillar in front of their homes.
Connor and Luke took a wagon with candle supplies to sell from house to house, inquiring whether residents had candles.
Some Lorain Road neighbors even brought out the candles that they had from decades ago.
Connor and Luke, who both attend Valentine Elementary School, circulated through the neighborhood between 5 and 5:30 each evening to light the candles and snuff them out between 8:30 and 9 p.m.
“I’m super proud of Luke and Connor for bringing back this wonderful tradition,” Luke’s mom Noelle Aloe said.
Lorain Road residents had a special candle-lighting party on Dec. 23 with refreshments and caroling. Jenny Yessaian and her children Mikey and Emily also sold hot chocolate and coffee for Hot for Hope, a charity providing care packages, camping adventures, counseling and support for children whose parents have cancer.
Luke and Connor said they are both pleased to have rekindled the candle tradition with approximately a third of the houses on Lorain Road and hope to reach more homes next year.
“In the future, they’ll ask other neighbors,” Nguyen said. “They only had a short amount of time to make these candles.”