With Christmas Eve just a week away, the holiday season is in full swing. Popular activities include caroling, cookie baking, and guzzling eggnog. One tradition, special to many families, is the annual Christmas light drive. A field trip through snowless Friendswood to see how friends and neighbors have decorated their homes with Christmas charm. Some deck their lawns with simple wreaths, while others populate theirs with holiday inflatables of all shapes and sizes. Of course, the common ingredient in every holiday display is the lighting.
Three years ago, Sarah Peters, a co-director of the Friendswood Fine Arts Society and holiday light enthusiast, began a new tradition, the Annual Friendswood Deck the House Contest. This holiday lighting competition sets out to mix the spirit of Christmas with the thrill of competition within Friendswood. Working with her FFAS co-director, Sangie Gardiner, the two came up with a competition that they hoped would become a fun staple of the town’s traditions. “We wanted the city of Friendswood to really dress up for the holidays, and have everybody get in the holiday spirit.” The two have always been impressed by the quality displays and they see the town’s involvement as an artistic celebration of creativity.
A week ago, the FFAS sent a group of judges to choose five of the best homes from the many that had been nominated. Three critical rules the judges look for in a good house include a yard not overwhelmed by too many decorations, a solid, visible theme, and, of course, an imaginative and elegant display. This year’s sponsors are the Cheesecake Factory, Mulch Express, and Gulf Coast Equine. Each one is offering a worthy reward to this year’s winner, who will also receive an “FFAS Best Holiday Lights” yard sign and a picture in the Friendswood Reporter News.
Competition grows steeper every year. Last year’s winner, Troy Hoffman, spent over a hundred hours constructing his yard display. “The competition is a lot of fun,” he said, “It brought a lot of people out. My neighbor said that people were taking family pictures at all hours of the night.” He also suggested that competitors take advantage of social media to promote their house. The contest offers a fun family activity for those looking for a new way to celebrate the season. Take an evening, pile everyone up in the car, and be sure to check out these top five houses that have more cheer than even the Griswold household.
You can vote for your favorite house through the Friendswood Fine Arts Society website http://ffaionline.com/deckthehouse/vote.php. Voting will end on the 20, and a winner will be announced on December 22.