The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

December 22, 2012

Residents: Decorations are about strengthening bonds, reaching community

By Katie Dahlstrom
Herald Staff Writer

CLINTON — Christmas decorations mean more to the residents of a Clinton street than being the best and brightest in the neighborhood.

For the people filling the homes in the 1000 block of North 13th Street, decorations are about strengthening bonds and reaching the community.

For approximately one month starting Dec. 1, every front yard on the block (and some around the corner)  is decorated with white rope lights and every home is adorned with a white lighted wreath. A sign welcoming people to the "Neighborhood Noel" waits on one end of the block.

It's a tradition that for some residents is reminiscent of old Clinton holiday happenings like Candy Cane Lane.

“As a young boy I thrived on Christmas lights and decorations,” resident and leader of the decorating Mike Kremer said. “We're trying to bring that back.”

About five years ago Kremer, his wife Sally and neighbor Tom Koester, who have all lived on the block for more than 25 years, decided to rally the neighborhood for a unified light display spanning the entire block. In addition to the rope lights and wreaths, neighbors add their own flair with lighted reindeer, drummer boys and other holiday displays. Approximately 20 houses are participating this year.

“It puts everybody in a good mood. It brightens things up,” Koester, who leads his side of the block said.

“You don't really get to see your neighbors during the winter so this gets everybody out.”

Neighbors start the two week process of putting up the decorations the week after Thanksgiving. Kremer and Koester help elderly neighbors who can't put their own lights up.

“It brings all the neighbors together. In this day and age that's a hard thing to do,” Kremer said.

Not only does it bring neighbors together, but residents hope it will also bring the community together.

The lights come on at 5 p.m. everyday and stay on until 9 p.m. for the viewing pleasure of anyone looking for a piece of holiday splendor.