The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Lifestyles

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
Lifestyles
  • CATS-DOGS281.jpg Where cats are more popular than dogs in the U.S.-and all over the world

    We all know there are only two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people. But data from market research firm Euromonitor suggest that these differences extend beyond individual preferences and to the realm of geopolitics: it turns out there are cat countries and dog countries, too.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • The Clinton Herald Jim Miller Low-cost, free cellphone options for seniors DEAR SAVVY SENIOR: What are the cheapest cell phone options available today to seniors living on a shoestring budget? I only need it for occasional calls. — Seldom Calling SeniorDEAR SELDOM: For financially challenged seniors who only want a cell pho

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • YWCA offers lifeguard training

    CLINTON — The YWCA will offer lifeguard training in August.The course will be held from Aug. 4 to 10 at the YWCA. This 30-hour class will meet from 5 to 9 p.m. for four weeknights and from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday. A possibility of adding a class from 1

    July 25, 2014

  • GPS race Teams race to complete challenges THOMSON, Ill. — A challenge in August will pit teams against each other to complete a series of challenges.The event will begin at 9 a.m. Aug. 16 at the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge in Thomson. Armed with GPS units, teams

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Habitat for Humanity hosts fundraiser

    CLINTON — Habitat for Humanity will host a fundraiser in Thomson, Illinois.The Clinton County group will showcase Laid Back Luau from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8, at Heirloom Cafe in Thomson. The event will feature games, prizes, music train rides for

    July 25, 2014

  • Fire departments undergo grain bin rescue training OMAHA — The Goose Lake and Lost Nation Volunteer Fire Departments each have received lifesaving grain bin rescue equipment through a donation from Farm Credit Services of America.Goose Lake received its equipment July 14 and Lost Nation on July 15. E

    July 24, 2014

  • ADM donates $75K for fire boat purchase CLINTON — Archer Daniels Midland Company has donated $75,000 to the city of Clinton for a new fire and rescue boat for the Clinton Fire Department.The boat will help the fire department respond to fires, administer emergency medical services and resp

    July 24, 2014

  • Students get first-hand look at non-profits CLINTON — An upcoming event will showcase Clinton area’s non-profits to incoming Ashford University students.The second Fresh START (Serving to Achieve Results Together) event will be held Saturday, Aug. 16. Students and staff members will serve at v

    July 23, 2014

  • Friend of the Fair Two honored as 'Friends' MORRISON, Ill. — The Whiteside County Fair recently announced its 2014 Friend of the Fair. Paul Vock and Dan Heusinkveld are this year’s honorees. The two men have been involved with the fair for decades.Vock started with the fair in 1971 as the Heav

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bice Nurses earn Daisy awards

    CLINTON — Two Clinton nurses recently earned Daisy awards.Mercy Medical Center nurses Jodie Atkinson and Kristen Bice earned the awards that is rewarded to extraordinary nurses. Atkinson began her career in nursing at Mercy Medical Center in 1995 on

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

Front page
Clinton Herald Photos


Browse, buy and submit pictures with our photo site.

Poll

Should the city of Clinton appeal the open records violation ruling that will cost taxpayers $40,600?

Yes
No
     View Results
AP Video
Olympics 2014
Featured Comment
Featured Ads
Blue Zones Project
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.