By Brent Cabatan
Lights, Camera, Christmas!
For the folks on Wakefield Court, Christmas begins before the Halloween candy is even passed out.
Known its house-to-house hanging lights and creatively over-the-top props, Wakefield Court’s award-winning Christmas light collaboration has been a holiday must see in the Santa Clarita Valley for years.
The residents of Wakefield Court have their first Christmas decoration meeting around Halloween, according to a resident who has lived on the street for two years.
The seemingly countless amount of lights that adorn the street in general are held in a warehouse owned by a Wakefield Court resident while the decorations on each house are stored by their respective owners.
The actual decorating begins in early November, starting with the aforementioned hanging lights, and most of the lights and props on individual houses are up by Thanksgiving.
Wakefield Court is transformed into a world almost its own, the epitome of the holiday season, so it’s no wonder that families file in to get their slice of Christmas cheer. Some park nearby and walk the street, some stay in their cars and slowly drive by each house.
“I love to see the light in the children’s eyes when they see all of the lights, it’s fun,” said Russ Cox, whose family has lived on the street since 2005.
Some residents take advantage of the attention that the lights bring by gathering donations for charities. One family collects toy donations for the Boys and Girls Club, for example, and another sells mistletoe to gather money for a different charity.
“I’m a Christmas nerd,” said Denise Dacorsi, who moved to Wakefield Court in March. “My first visit up here was last year and I said to myself, ‘we are going to live there,’ and sure enough, 40 days later we found this house.”
The massive amount of lights and decorations begs the question: how much does it cost to keep this Yuletide utopia running?
“We are expecting our electric bill to be $850 for the month,” Dacorsi said.
There are 40 houses on Wakefield Court, and only two families choose not to participate. Therefore, the cost to light up street is about $30,400 for a single month, enough to buy a 2013 Chevy Camaro, with $6,000 to spare.
“A lot of people ask if Edison cuts us a break,” Cox said. “ No. Not at all.”
Of course, the residents of Wakefield Court are looking to cut down on the cost as much as possible — starting with the hanging lights, so a few homes on the street are already using LED hanging lights, which cost less to operate. But depending on the number of lights, it could cost as much as $17,000 to make the make the switch.
For the folks on Wakefield Court, the holiday season is a drain on their time and fiscally demanding, yet they continue the tradition largely without complaint. It’s a display of unselfishness and unwavering holiday spirit that, judging from the crowds it draws each year, is much appreciated.