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Local News

Residents embrace Christmas spirit

Joliet features dozens of homes with light displays

Sometimes Don Schmidberger forgets why people tend to drive slowly by his father’s home during the holidays.

But then he remembers that his father’s front yard is decked out with Christmas lights and a wooden Nativity scene that he created. Schmidberger said he’s so used to the decorations that he forgets they draw people’s attention.

“I think people enjoy it,” he said.

For about 20 years, he and his father, Louis Schmidberger, have decorated the front yard. It is among almost 50 Joliet homes considered to have the best decorations, according to the city’s holiday lights map.

Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk has said the map makes it easy for residents to showcase their homes to other residents and visitors. He said the creation of the map is “just a little something the city can do to give back to residents during the holiday season.”

“Joliet residents take pride in their homes, and many do an excellent job of decorating,” he said in a news release.

Patty Jesionowski said she’s been decorating her home with her husband for 20 years. Every year, the decorations get bigger. She said it takes several days to put up the decorations. She and her husband tend to fight with the inflatables on windy days.

Jesionowski also decorates every room inside her house. She said she decorates for every holiday, but Christmas and Halloween are her favorites.

“I love to decorate,” she said.

Her front lawn has inflatable snowmen, an inflatable minion from the movie “Despicable Me” and a lighted reindeer. A neon sign above her garage says “Merry Christmas.”

The snowmen are her favorite.

“Even inside my house, I have snowmen everywhere,” Jesionowski said.

Jesionowski said everyone in her neighborhood seems to enjoy her decorations. She said people will stop by to compliment the display.

“I’ve been outside and I’ve had people stop and just say, ‘Oh, I love how you do this,’ and, ‘It looks like you really enjoy it,’ ” she said.

One neighbor takes photos of her house when it’s decorated and uses those photos for cards.

“It’s really nice to see it’s appreciated,” she said.

Don Schmidberger said he and his father started decorating their home each Christmas about 20 years ago. The display started off small but became larger over time, he said.

Don Schmidberger said his late mother always enjoyed his family’s Christmas decorations. Even after she died years ago, he and his father continued to decorate.

“It’s kind of a tradition that she liked,” he said.

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