California wildfire victims still decorate what’s left of homes, keeping up holiday spirits

SANTA ROSA, CA — The California wildfires have left a lot of homeowners with hard decisions during the holidays. To sell or not to sell.

Diana Gorsiski with the North Bay Association of Realtors says it will take on average two years to rebuild. Twenty-five percent of homeowners have already left the Santa Rosa neighborhood, about 50 miles north of San Francisco.

Homes that would normally sell for $500,000 are now going for $160,000 as residential lots.

"I believe right now somebody buying a lot might be taking a little bit of a chance not knowing what the building codes will be and what the city's going to ask them to do for the structure of that lot,” said Gorsiski.

Some homeowners aren't letting the wildfires interrupt their Christmas season.

Patty Malnick returned to decorate what was left of her home after the October wildfires, trying to bring some holiday cheer to the community.

“Well so far I have my dead trees here. I put some bows on them,” said Malnick.

Patty is not alone. Others have hung ornaments, decorated Christmas trees, and there's even stockings hung on a chimney.“It's still your home and it’s part of you and you want to bring some cheer back,” said malnick,

Even as residents are without their homes and most prized possessions, the Christmas spirit still lives on.