Tis definitely the season of the third annual Christmas lights and decorations contest in New Lenox.
There were nine nominated homes that entered this years contest, and there was lots of holiday spirit surrounding so many of the areas homes. Holiday decorating is, of course, a very personal tradition and many people express their decorating personalities in very different ways, which is where all the fun begins.
At the Carreon Family house on the 2000 block of Abbington Drive, no tree or bush went without a pretty blinking light. Santas, snowmen and snowflakes covered this sprawling yard filled with holiday cheer and topped off with the flashing words "Happy Holidays" on the roof, a perfect welcome for Santa's arrival.
Courtney Schild of the 600 block of Lenox Street took on a more classic approach to her decorating with beautiful white lights outlining her home and wrapping every bush, tree, pine garland and wreath finished with lush red bows.
Her grand Christmas tree inside prominently reflected the same classic style. The Beckers of the 800 block of East Joliet Highway showed off their back yard, where all the magic happens. Ida and Robert Becker began decorating in small doses in their front yard at the beginning of their 36 years of living in their house.
"We were running out of room in the front yard so we decided to decorate the back yard and now all our neighbors really enjoy it," she said.
The Hausner family, of the 700 block of Belot Lane, had home alive with an array of colorful, blinking and alternating orchestra of lights wrapping everything from the roof to the giant homemade candy canes lining the walkway and a giant santa and snowman to wave at passers by. Robert Hausner shared this tip:
"Start early. We start the roof in mid October and the whole family is involved with the process, we really decorate for the kids," he said. Speakers outside were playing a familiar Christmas tune, this house has everything covered.
The Hoffers, of the 2000 block of Westmoreland Street, took on their decorating very simply with colored lighted balls perched from the porch with wrapped lights and a simple lighted manger as a focal point. Jennifer Linton, of the 800 block of Southgate Road, had many blinking yard displays of santas and trees, flashing roof lights and fun holiday music.
The Cepek family, of the 700 block of Amber Road, won the best lights award.*
Karen Longdon, of the 200 block of Pine Street, offered many blowup decorations, including Snoopy.
"I had no idea about this contest until this year so I entered," she said.
Brian Marnell's house had a large painting of Santa displayed in the front yard, quite an original touch and sure to bring a smile. It's surrounded by spiraling lit trees and large light bulbs lining the walkway and cute penguins atop an igloo.
The Kroll family was one of two families that signed up to judge the homes. Diana, her husband Tony and three kids Victoria (14) Adam (11) and Mackenzie (8) went around town to view the homes and determine three winners: best lights, best decorations and best musical effects. Each first-place winner in each category will receive a $30 gift certificate from Chili's, which is the sponsor of this years event. All other winners will receive a poster to post in the yard with bragging rights.
Diana Kroll and her family have a tradition of driving around the neighborhoods to see the holiday lights.
"It's inexpensive and gets the family together to see and appreciate what their neighbors do for others to enjoy," she said.
The winners this year are as follows:
- Best lights: Cepek family
- Best decorations: Brian Marnell
- Best music: Robert Hausner
*A previous version of this article incorrectly described the Cepek family's decorations and had a photo incorrectly identifying their house. The description was of another house down the block. Patch regrets the error.