The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

December 23, 2012

A family tradition found in light displays

By Samantha Pidde
Herald Staff Writer

Fulton, Ill. — For some members of the community, Christmas decorating is a family tradition.

Roy Nelson, 72, 105 Ninth St., Fulton, Ill., can be found outside dressed as Santa and handing out candy canes, when the weather allows. Nelson has been hanging lights and decorating for Christmas for 60 years. He remembers helping his grandfather with his light display. When his grandfather became too old, Nelson and his father took over. In 1972, he began decorating his father’s home and eventually his own.

A total of 10,000 colored lights decorate the exterior of Nelson’s home. The front yard is dedicated to the children and features Santa and Mrs. Claus, reindeer, a sleigh and other decorations. The side of the house holds a Nativity scene and a lighted star. Colored lights outline bushes and trees in the backyard. Nelson also donated the lights that can be seen on the windmill in Fulton and the 3,000 lights at the Presbyterian church.

Nelson’s favorite part is sitting at the end of his driveway, waving at people while dressed as Santa. That is when it became more fun for him. He loves when people stop to say that they like his display.

“That's what makes it worth it,” Nelson said.

Nathan Snyder, 1566 Fourth Ave., Camanche, received a love of decorating from his grandfather as well. He would help his own grandfather with his light display.

Every year, Nathan and his wife Jess, as well as their three children, work to light up their front yard. The house’s roof features a large star. An angel dedicated to Brittney Everhart sits in their front yard.

“So Brittney would always have an angel by her side,” Jess said.

However, the item that Jess said her neighbors anticipate every year is the giant snowman made out of pipes with lights strung around them. Nathan constructed the snowman almost five years ago. It is constructed in three sections and stands taller than the house. The entire family works on getting it put up.

“It takes the whole family to put the snowman up,” Jess said. “It's quite the production.”

The Snyder family enjoys decorating each year. Jess said her children get excited each year when it is time to put the lights up.