The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Entertainment & Events

December 24, 2013

Christmas decorations light up night in Clinton

CLINTON — Christmas is a time of traditions and one of the most common traditions is the hanging of decorative lights on the outside of a house or business.

For some local residents, hanging lights is the best way to spread Christmas cheer and they are invoking the spirit of Clark Griswold from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation to show off their decorating pride.

“If I drove through a town and there wasn’t one single Christmas light I wouldn’t feel like it was Christmas,” local resident and holiday decorating enthusiast Kevin Colschen said. “When you drive and see lots of lights it makes you feel the Christmas spirit. If everyone’s decorating then everyone’s got it on their mind that it’s Christmas time.”

Colschen began decorating his home on North Fourth Street shortly after purchasing it a few years ago and says that each year he does it, he gets more and more excited for the following year.

“The first year I went and bought five strands of lights, and a couple strands to put on the roof,” Colschen said. “I was kind of short, so I went and bought some more and would see something else I liked and it just kind of grew from there. Now, I have about 18,000 individual lights on my house.”

He is not the only local Christmas light enthusiast who is stepping up the decorating this year.

Mike Kremer and several of his neighbors in the 1000 block of North 13th Street in Clinton decided about 5 years ago they wanted to do something a little different for Christmas decorating, and the Neighborhood Noel was born.

“My wife and I were just sitting around with some of the neighbors one night, talking about how Christmas lights used to be before the energy crisis in the 1970s,” Kremer said. “So we came up with the idea of putting up these rope lights and from there other neighbors just started going along with it. Now it’s growing and we’re trying to encourage some of the other connecting neighborhoods to start.”  

He says that as the tradition continues through the years, more and more of the neighbors who didn’t choose to participate in the beginning are enjoying the attention and getting in on the experience.

“For many years there was one guy who wasn’t to excited about the idea, but now he has even started putting stuff out,” Kremer said. “Now that we’re doing it and more and more people are getting into it we don’t have any negative feelings on it anymore.”

The only challenges the Colschen, folks of Neighborhood Noel and all others who decorate for Christmas had this year were the limited time between Thanksgiving and Christmas and major temperature declines in that period.

According to Randy Pennock, lawn and garden manager at Paul’s Discount Store, that shortened time frame affected more than just Kremer and his neighbors.

“This year after Thanksgiving we were already in the first part of December, so that late Thanksgiving kind of brings our Christmas light sales down just slightly,” Pennock said. “It’s also partly because of the weather; obviously, the weather plays a big part of that.”

Despite the drop in temperature and the shortened time frame, people are still braving the cold and getting out to set up their Christmas displays and Pennock said the old standbys are still holding strong.

“LED lights are still going strong. People are still slowly going to those,” Pennock said. “But, still so many people do use the mini lights outside. I’d say the biggest trend, different this year, are the solid colored lights. Those have been a big hit.”

The light-emitting diode (LED) lights have been consistently growing in popularity over the years and Justin Foss, spokesman for Alliant Energy, says it’s because of their energy efficiency and safety.

“If you take 10 of those mini incandescent light strands off and put on 10 LED mini lights strands and you run them for five hours a day for the holiday season you’re averaging about $4 in monthly savings,” Foss said. “It adds up over time, but you’re not going to see a huge jump unless you’re Clark Griswold.”

LED lights also are safer to keep on for longer periods of time, said Foss, because they only give off light and very little heat.

“A traditional string of mini Christmas lights are about 40 watts per string. That same string in LEDs is down to about four or five watts,” Foss said. “One of the things that a lot of people don’t realize is in those old incandescent lights, about 80 or 90 percent of that creates heat and the other 10 percent creates light. LEDs are not creating that heat, they’re just creating light.”

Whether people choose solid white lights, incandescent, multi colored or LED bulbs to decorate their homes, one thing always holds true — the tradition of hanging Christmas lights will continue for many, many years.

“It’s an addiction,” Colschen said.

1
Text Only
Entertainment & Events
  • 7-22-14 Emily Evans 7 seek pageant crown CLINTON — The time has come for Miss Clinton County Brandy Herrington to pass her crown on to the next lucky contestant and this year the competition is thick.When the event commences on Saturday at the DeWitt Central Performing Arts Center, seven yo

    July 22, 2014 7 Photos

  • kyle.jpg Voices lifted for Habitat (with VIDEOS)

    CLINTON — Members of the community came out in droves Sunday afternoon to attend a Concert for a Cause, a first-time event benefiting Habitat of Humanity of Clinton County.More than 70 voices joined together in the Vernon Cook Theater for the CHS Alu

    July 21, 2014 5 Photos

  • Fonda, Kardashian voice Fox animated episodes BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Jane Fonda, Sarah Silverman and Nick Offerman are among the guest voices on “The Simpsons” this fall, while Kim Kardashian lends her voice in the final episode of “American Dad.”Fox said Sunday that Kardashian plays an al

    July 21, 2014

  • Garner Film, TV legend dies NEW YORK — Few actors could register disbelief, exasperation or annoyance with more comic subtlety.James Garner had a way of widening his eyes while the corner of his mouth sagged ever so slightly. Maybe he would swallow once to further make his poin

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Showboat 'Wonderful Town' performance to begin CLINTON — The Clinton Area Showboat Theatre will showcase its fourth production of the summer this week.The Leonard Bernstein musical "Wonderful Town" will begin its run on the Showboat stage at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. A reception will follow the perform

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • UK court orders 'Glee' name change in legal row LONDON (AP) — Glum news for “Glee” — Britain’s High Court ruled Friday that the musical TV show must change its name because it breaches the trademark of a chain of comedy clubs.A judge told Twentieth Century Fox that it had to re-name the series in

    July 19, 2014

  • Brooklyn 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' cast has fun with Q&A stenographer BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — A funny thing happened during a Q&A for Fox’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”The show’s producers and cast, including Andy Samberg and Andre Braugher, gathered on the set Wednesday to take questions as part of the Television Critics Ass

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Weather Channel program features geeks talking shop NEW YORK (AP) — A bunch of weather geeks sitting around talking shop is The Weather Channel’s idea for new programming.A weekly show will gather meteorologists and other experts to discuss topics like the merits of storm-chasing, how to fight drought

    July 18, 2014

  • Sawmill New event cruises into Clinton CLINTON — Three Gateway-area locations are joining together in August for a river heritage event.The event will be held Aug. 3 and will feature a Blue Heron river cruise, a Sawmill Museum tour and a de Immigrant Windmill tour in Fulton, Illinois. The

    July 18, 2014 3 Photos

  • How I met your dad CBS explains pass on 'How I Met Your Dad' pilot BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — “How I Met Your Dad” may not be dead yet.CBS Entertainment Chairman Nina Tassler said Thursday the network wants “very much to stay in business” with the show’s creators Craig Thomas, Carter Bays and executive producer Emily S

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

Facebook
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.