Twinkle twinkle |

Twinkle twinkle

Local homeowners light up the night, bring holiday spirit

Michelle Balleck
Enter your home or a friend's home Deadline: 5 p.m. Dec. 16

First Prize: $200 Second Prize: $125 Third Prize: $75 Honorable Mention: $50

The Yampa Valley Electric Association has donated all the prize money. Winners also receive a one-year subscription to the Craig Daily Press.

For information, call 824-7031.

Yards decorated with light-up plastic Santas, 8-foot inflatable snowmen and projection images of Christmas scenes have become staples of the holiday season.

Some homeowners like to keep their trimming simple, and others go all out to have the brightest and most colorful houses on the block.

Chuck and Beth Eschenburg embrace the latter philosophy.

The couple’s home, 1020 School St., is adorned with multi-colored lights in a zigzag pattern across their porch railing, with lighted spheres dangling from their front-yard tree.

The bushes in the front are each lit a different color, illuminating the white groundcover below.

“They’re prettier under the snow,” Beth said. “They show up better.”

The Eschenburgs estimate they have about 20 strands of lights strung across their home. Each year they add more.

“It’s just something that makes people smile,” she said. “And that is a part of Christmas.”

Bill and Linda Ivy, who live at 934 Steele St., agree that lighted homes are an important part of the holiday season. But they prefer all white lights and glowing stars in the windows.

“I just feel the white lights are peaceful,” Linda said. “The peace of Christmas, I want to have that.”

They have been decorating the exterior of their house for a long time, but have stepped up their decorations recently.

“With this porch, it just came a lot easier and it’s a lot more fun,” Linda said.

Plus, the couple does not climb their ladder to decorate their house just for themselves. They often see many people who drive around their cul-de-sac to view the lights.

Also, there are a few little ones who like a festive home, as well.

“We have seven grandkids,” Linda said. “They look forward to that.”

She said she often hears positive feedback from others in the community.

“I just feel like it’s sharing Christmas with our neighbors and our friends,” Linda said.

The Ivys were rewarded for their hard work and Christmas spirit last year when they won the Holiday Tour of Lights, an annual contest for the home with the best decorations, sponsored by the Yampa Valley Electric Association and Craig Daily Press.

The Daily Press publishes photographs of the winners and participants.

“We didn’t even know we were entered until it came out in the paper,” Linda said. “It was a nice surprise. It really was.”

One of their friends or neighbors nominated the couple’s home for the contest. The couple was flattered.

Winners take home cash prizes and a one-year subscription to the Daily Press.

Jim Chappell, spokesman for the electric association, said the company has sponsored the contest for more than 20 years.

“We just felt it was an asset to the community to celebrate the Christmas season,” Chappell said.

This is one of several area holiday events to which the association donates. It is true that electric bills rise as residents light up their homes for the season, Chappell said.

One man’s bill rises by $80 to decorate his entire farm. But most people see only $5 or $10 increases in their bills because the bulbs are small and don’t use a lot of electricity.

But an increase in electricity use during the holidays isn’t why the company is involved in such contests, he said.

“It makes everybody more in a joyous mood when they see Christmas lights,” he said.

For more information on the Holiday Tour of Lights, call the Daily Press at 824-7031.

Michelle Perry can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 209, or

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