The tree is up, the lights are on, the bows are tied, the star is glowing and even Santa has made an appearance as a decoration — it must be the Tehachapi Christmas tree.

It's now up at the Historic Tehachapi Depot, 101 W. Tehachapi Blvd., and ready for your cute family photos.

For 15 years, the official lighting of the Christmas tree has followed the Christmas Parade and a visit by jolly ol' St. Nick. But not this year; there's no parade, and no formal tree lighting, given restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic.

But the city still put up the tree, this year a little earlier.

"This has not been a normal year," Mayor Susan Wiggins said in a city news release. "I’m so happy to get it up and lit for everyone to enjoy. The Christmas tree is a sign of joy and I hope everyone has a fantastic holiday season."

Joy. That's the idea. All wrapped up in a 25-foot tree with thousands of lights.

So the city's Public Works Department got to work — think of them as Santa's helpers!

Mike Pera from the city has assembled the tree for 15 years.

“I’m known as Mr. Christmas," Pera said in a city news release. "I do this because I love to do it, it’s what a small town is all about. When I see it, it makes me feel warm."

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