The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Check out this year’s ‘Grand Holiday Displays’
BY ROB HEDELT
THE FREE LANCE-STAR
A funny thing happened 22 years ago.
Several folks in Spotsylvania County called after Thanksgiving to report an amazingly decorated “tacky Christmas house” that had to be seen to be believed.
I did a story because it was so bedazzling.
The next Christmas, dozens of folks called to say I should put their brightly decorated houses in the paper, adding that theirs were bright and cheery, not tacky.
And thus this annual list of Grand Holiday Displays was born. It’s a labor of love, driving out to see and certify nominations from readers each year.
An unexpected thing has happened along the way.
The “list regulars,” folks who each year have their cheery homes included, have become holiday friends.
They tell me about new additions to their displays, families and more.
And, in the case of regular Vince Villani of Stafford County this year, occasionally they tell me about years when the decision to decorate isn’t easy.
“I thought I was going to be contacting you to say I would not be lighting my display up this year,” Villani said a few weeks back. “My father-in-law, a retired Army colonel, passed away and I was not going to do our ‘light-up event’ out of respect to him.”
But when he told his mother-in-law about his decision, “not only did she want me to go through with the light-up, she wanted to be there. She said Dad enjoyed coming to see the lights every year and would be looking down from heaven to see them this year.”
So they went ahead with the annual display.
“My mother-in-law was there with 80 other friends and family,” Villani noted. “Even the nurse that was with my father-in-law when he passed away was there.”
I’m gratified to have the chance each Christmas to interact with Villani and so many other great people who work hard decorating their houses just to give others joy.
So, as I’m wont to say, grab your Aunt Edna and some Yoo–hoo and head out with a car full to check out the lights on this list.
You’ll be glad you did.