Chubbuck Christmas lights contest winners, other favorites revealed

December 13, 2016 GMT

CHUBBUCK — If you’ve ever seen the 1989 classic, “Christmas Vacation” staring Chevy Chase, then the name Griswold should strike a familiar chord around the holidays.

In the movie, Chevy Chase’s character, Clark Griswold, uses so much electricity the town’s utility company switches to nuclear power.

The winners of Chubbuck’s annual Christmas lighting contest Griswold Award category have been announced, and the decorations at the home of Suzette and Scott Kinney at 5045 Cole Street brought home the title for the first time.

“My mailman said one day, ‘How much do you have to do before you become the next Griswold?’ Suzette Kinney said. “And I said ’Oh probably when we go down three more houses. We have won awards in the past, but this is the first time we won the Griswold, which has just excited my husband to no end. Maybe now he will be more excited to decorate every year.”

Not only did a winter wonderland theme stretch across every inch of the Kinney’s front yard, it also worked its way into their next door neighbor’s lawn.

“My husband had the brainy idea to decorate the big tree out front,” Suzette said. “We couldn’t have the tree all by itself so we went out and got some extra snowman and reindeer to put in the neighbor’s yard. Our other neighbor really stepped it up this year too.”

Suzette added that for her, opening her tubs of Christmas decorations is just like Christmas morning. She’s been collecting decorations for each holiday for several years, and stores them in a double-decker shed in the backyard.

Many believe it’s safe to start decorating for Christmas after Thanksgiving. For the Kinneys, Christmas decorating begins as early as October.

“It’s always a fun adventure,” Suzette said. “I start right around Halloween and I pull everything out of the shed. I’ll put the reindeers and the snowman out and leave them in the backyard. Then after a few weeks, once my husband gets on board, I start moving everything out to the front yard.”

Like Clark Griswold, Scott is in charge of running the extension cords, checking each light and flicking the switch at the end. Suzette isn’t sure how many lights there are in total, but said Scott ran 45 sets of lights just for the large tree out front.

She added that only one problem requires a bit of compromise every Christmas.

“I like red and clear and he likes the multicolored lights,” she said. “So we have to have this conglomeration of minds so we come up with something different every year.”

The inside is just as much, if not more, decorated than the exterior, including multiple trains around the Christmas tree, tables of snowmen and the smell of cinnamon filling the air.

“Last year for the very first time I decided to count all the snowmen I have,” Suzette said. “Then I gave an assignment to the grandkids. If they can count the snowmen and get within 10, they get a prize. I can’t give you the exact number because then my grandkids wouldn’t have to go through the effort of counting them, but I’ll tell you it’s over 400 and under 500.”

Brad Winters, head of the Christmas lighting contest, said there were so many houses deserving of awards this year, but there weren’t enough to go around.

“This year some of those houses were chosen over other previous winners with amazing displays,” Winters said. “We have implemented a new rule this year that states a house cannot win the same award two years in a row, unless there is absolutely no other competitive choice.”

Honorable mentions this year go to 201 Henry, 1389 Sawtooth, 637 Canal and the Chubbuck Fire Station, most of which were previous winners.

The overall winner of this year’s contest was the Anderson family located at 1105 Sawtooth. The house had every light perfectly aligned and can be seen from across the field and about a mile down the road.

“Oh my good gracious,” said Ken Anderson. “It overjoys me that people get satisfaction or happiness out of it. It builds up each year and I mainly do it for the kids. Hopefully it gets them all excited for Christmas and Santa. Award or not, I hope it brings somebody some happiness.”

Other winners include: Best Commercial Display — Idaho Central Credit Union, Most Traditional — 485 Lariat, Most Colorful —755 Callie, Best Small Display — 4738 Kimmi Ct., Spirit of the Season — 5003 Joy St., Spirit of the Season — 5073 Redfish and Mayor’s Choice —488 Pocano.