The judges: Jesse McClure, Jim Walker, Michele E. Buttelman and Carl Goldman on Ash Court in Saugus.
[KHTS] – Is there a better way to celebrate the holiday season with family and friends then touring the many beautiful Christmas light displays throughout the Santa Clarita Valley?
The KHTS inaugural Holiday Light Tour took to the streets of the SCV on Saturday night to track down the “Best and the Brightest” holiday lights with a jolly jitney of judges that included Head Light Tour Judge Michele E. Buttelman and fellow fun-seekers Carl Goldman, Jesse McClure and Jim Walker.
After an exhausting evening of driving the streets of the SCV, eating numerous bowls of soup and chili, consuming cups of hot chocolate (and other libations) and downing a record number of xmas cookies, the judges arrived at the very difficult decision of who has the most amazing lights in the SCV,
Best Santa Clarita Holiday Light Streets
Tied for “Best and Brightest” in the street category are perennial winner Wakefield Court and the popular “reindeer street” Essex Court.
Wakefield Court: Located off Copperhill and Courtland the Wakefield Winter Wonderland is the definition of community spirit in the SCV. In addition to an amazing Christmas street in the “Candy Cane Lane” tradition Wakefield Court collects toys to present to the deserving families of the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley and donations to Bridge to Home, the SCV homeless shelter. Don’t forget to bring your toys and your check when you visit Wakefield Court this holiday season. Donation boxes are located at opposite ends of the two cul-de-sacs. Judge Jesse described Wakefield Court as “the juggernaut of Christmas lights… the Yankees of holiday decorating, if you will.” Judge Carl said “Wakefield Court gets bigger and better every year.”
Essex Place: Can you find Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer on Essex Place? All of Santa’s reindeer can be spotted on this small, charming street overflowing with community spirit in Valencia. However, Rudolph makes it a habit of traveling around the street, each night he can be found in a different location. The judges were impressed with the amazing chili and hot dogs served up during the annual block party, too. “What this street lacks in lights it makes up for in community charm and hospitality,” said Judge Jesse. “At some point you have to ask, ‘what is this all about?’ Essex Court has hit the nail on the head.” “The roaming, singing children are always a special treat,” said Judge Jim.
Notable SCV Holiday Light Streets include:
Ninth Annual Luminaria Display: This charming holiday display, founded by Suzanne Bowman, can be found on Clearidge Drive, Meraweather Place, Essex Place and Mansfield Court in Valencia. Hours are Saturdays and Sundays through Christmas as well as Monday, Dec. 23 and Tuesday, Dec. 24 (and Christmas night) from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Bowman, from North Carolina, had seen luminaria displays during the holidays and when she moved to Santa Clarita she asked her neighbors if they would be interested in doing such a display here. “When I asked my neighbors if they wanted to do it they said yes,” she said. Bowman said more than 70 homes participate in the annual Luminaria Display, which is now celebrating its ninth year.
During the first year of the display Bowman and her husband Bill, bought candles and 2,000 pounds of sand for the display. The luminarias are made from empty 1-gallon plastic milk jugs cut in half with candles placed in sand at the bottom of the jug. “Seeing the long rows of lights placed at the curb on so many streets is truly unique,” said Judge Jesse. “This is a very unique idea and an amazing tradition,” said Judge Carl.
Ash Court: A small cul-de-sac with red poinsettias painted on the street and a warm community spirit Ash Court also has a collection box for Help the Children. Bring a check, food, diapers and children’s books and clothing. The beautifully decorated home on Ash Court are an SCV tradition dating from 2003.
Vicki Karoff said her husband, Roger Matsuo, a special effects coordinator, spearheaded the Christmas community effort. “When we moved in he went around and knocked on doors and asked the neighbors if they wanted to do something as a neighborhood,” she said. Matsuo said the street represents “unity.” “That’s why there are strings of lights that meet in the center of the street,” he said. “It’s about unity. We’re all connected to each other in one way or another. We’re all united here.”
“This is a loving, small cul-de-sac community,” said Judge Jesse. “I love how the neighborhood is connected by the white, icicle lights overhead and the sense of community,” said Judge Jim.
Canterwood/Cross Creek: Christmas lives here at the intersection of Canterwood and Cross Creek in Saugus. A spectacular Christmas tree illuminates the intersection surrounded by beautifully decorated homes. “Great curb appeal,” said Judge Jesse. “It’s a must see!”
Chesterfield Drive: Returning to its once former Christmas glory Chesterfield Drive in Valencia offers up beautiful lights, lots of Disney characters and fun, warm people. “When you approach the street to the sounds of the Spin Doctors and classic rock you know you’ve reached the party street,” said Judge Jesse.
Meraweather Place: It’s all about the elves on Meraweather Place. The elves are “out and about” and can be found all over the neighborhood. Come drive through Clearidge, Meraweather, Essex and Mansfield and try to find as many elves as you can. The luminaries throughout will light your way. You might find Santa as well!
The holiday light competition between Wakefield Court and Ash Court will be featured on a Travel Channel one-hour special “Xtreme Xmas” on the Travel Channel Sunday, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. The special features “extreme” Christmas traditions throughout the United States.
Best and Brightest Santa Clarita Holiday Homes
The “Best and Brightest” holiday home was a true challenge to judge with so many exceptional entries. However, when a marriage proposal is made in front of one spectacular SCV home at the same time you are driving by for judging, it’s hard not to get all sentimental and give that house a few extra points.
Photos by Michele E. Buttelman | Click to enlarge
First place for individual home in the 2013 KHTS Holiday Light Tour goes to the incredible home of David and Salley Jensen on Wakefield Court. The home features a working carousel that seats six, a tree of lights and a huge homemade gingerbread house. The tree and carousel are synchronized to music. “We built everything from scratch, the carousel and the gingerbread house,” said David Jensen. “A very impressive carousel and gingerbread house that stands out even on the most amazing street in the SCV,” said Judge Jim. Judge Carl was almost speechless. “Awesome,” he said. As the car carrying the Holiday Light Tour judges cruised by the house on Saturday night a cheer erupted from the crowd standing in front of the Jensen house. A wedding proposal had just been offered and accepted in front of this very special home. Now that’s the way to celebrate the holidays.
Best Use of Theme
Best Use of Theme, Best and Brightest, can be found at the home of Eli and Patrice Hallack, 25086 Cotton Blossom Lane, Stevenson Ranch. Where to start on this fantastic holiday home? Hallack’s home boats 42,000 lights and an incredible array of moving parts. New this year is a snowman in the front yard that blows “snow” about 20 feet in the air and floats down across the sidewalk, a Christmas giraffe and a charming lighted Christmas construction crane lifting a load of presents. The front yard ferris wheel, train, music and light show and candy cane trees make this home the hands-down winner of the Best Use of Theme Award. It is “The Best and Brightest” in the SCV. “My entire family loves Christmas,” said Eli Hallack. “It is fantastic to be able do this every year. It makes you feel good to bring happiness to people and that’s what The Hallack family, Eli and Patrice and children Madeline, 12, and Elizabeth, 9, encourage you to visit. You might just be welcomed with candy canes and hot cocoa! “This home is always phenomenal,” said Judge Jim.
More Top-10 Santa Clarita homes
3. Christmas at Our House: Mark and Carla Caple of 22112 Altair Lane in Saugus have created a winter wonderland both inside and outside. The exterior features a nativity and thousands of lights synchronized to music in addition to a 15-foot tall hot air balloon with Santa and Candy canes, blow ups, snowmen, elves and light up ornaments. However, the inside of the Caple home is devoted to one of the Dept. 56-Lemax displays in the SCV. The display features a village that is nearly 20 feet long with more than 30 animated pieces that bring the village to life. Built on multiple levels the village includes two moving trains and a trolley car. However, the centerpiece of the village is a working waterfall. Mark Caple said he has been collecting pieces for nearly 20 years. The waterfall is his favorite feature of the village. Among the most amazing area in the village is “circus” area that features working, miniature carnival rides. “This home has a wonderful, incredible display of miniatures. You could spend hours exploring them,” said Judge Jim.
4. Linda and Jim Maddux and family at 19121 Dalton Street, Newhall (off Sierra Highway and Whispering Leaves Drive): This jaw-dropping and amazing home features 47,000 lights dancing to music on nearly 400 channels. This year’s offering includes a new star shining brightly on the roof and additional areas of lighted snow. It’s the kind of home you just stop and stare at with amazement. “This home is always one of my favorites,” said Judge Carl. “This is a ‘must see,’” said Judge Jesse.
5. Blake Leidholdt and family at 19665 Lonerock, Canyon Country: A homemade sleigh slides from the roof down to the yard that features homemade cut outs of gingerbread men, tons and tons and tons of lights, inflatables, Rudolph, Santa, Homer Simpson and a 22-foot LED Christmas tree. More than 40,000 Christmas lights are synced to great Christmas music. The lights come on at 6 p.m. “A little homemade and a little crazy,” said Judge Jesse. “But it is one of my favorites.”
6. Hobbs Winter Wonderland: Keith and Merilee Hobbs and children Amanda, Kameron and Landon (26439 Misty Ridge Place, Canyon Country) offer an impressive Christmas display of nearly 25,000 lights which are computer controlled and synchronized to music. Look for the yellow VW Beetle wrapped in lights. Show hours: Sunday-Thursday 5:30 to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 5:30 to 11 p.m.; Christmas Eve: 5:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. and New Year’s Eve 5:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. “Very nicely put together,” said Judge Jim. “Anyone who is willing to sacrifice their VW Beetle for the sake of Christmas is okay in my book,” said Judge Jesse.
7. Todd Tisdell, 30523 Deed Ave, Castaic (in Hasley Canyon): The Tisdell family, (Todd and Sara and children Emma and Spencer) welcomes you to their extravagant holiday light show with more than 35,000 lights synchronized to holiday music. The 13-minute show runs every night from 5:15 to 10:15 p.m. New this year is a hidden Mickey Mouse. Also, remember to leave your Christmas wish on the board for Santa to read on Christmas Eve. This home is well worth the effort to find, located as it is “off-the-beaten path” in the hinterlands of Castaic. Todd Tisdell said the family begins setting up the home the last week of October. “We don’t get any trick-or-treaters out here,” he said. Donations to the Preeclampsia Foundation are also collected. “This home is beyond cool,” said Judge Carl. “The snowmen rolling down the hill is very creative and the music synchronization is superb.”
8. Santa House, 19726 Terri Drive, Canyon Country. Known at the “Santa House” house among the neighbors this quaint home clearly pays homage to the man known for his jolly “ho, ho, ho! “To say this is the ‘Santa House’ is an understatement,” said Judge Jesse. “As a guy who bids on storage units for a living, the first thing that comes to mind is, ‘where do they put all that stuff once Christmas is over?’”
9. Hannemann, 23501 Clearidge Drive, Valencia: Welcome to the North Pole. Is that Santa wandering around on the second floor I spy? Stop by and check out this delicious gingerbread house and see where Santa’s elves are hiding. “Everything seems homemade,” said Judge Jesse. “The Santa video experience is very special.”
10. Penguins vs. Flamingos: Cindy and Jim James and daughter Kelinna make it a family affair at 29110 Highplains Court, Castaic. Who doesn’t love penguins and flamingos? This display offers up cute and clever homemade cutouts of penguins and flamingos having a playful snowball fight. “This year we decided they would have a party,” said Jim James. “This home put a smile on my face,” said Judge Carl. “It is very cute.” “Expensive store-bought items may look better to some,” said Judge Jesse. “But I take homemade creativity a lot more seriously.”
Other beautiful homes to see in Santa Clarita:
Jim and Marisa and children Gina and Mark Madera at 27721 Essex Place, Valencia: Home features a nativity scene and the Peanuts gang. “This is a nice, well lit home,” said Judge Jesse.
Christmas Beat: The Willcox home at 32451 Sierra Oak Trail, Castaic 91384 features nine small Christmas trees in the foreground with all of the lights synchronized to music. A great mix of musical selections includes modern Trans-Siberian songs paired with classic Johnny Mathis and Mel Torme and a special Christmas musical surprise.
Musical Christmas trees 25821 Webster Place Stevenson Ranch: This light display synchronized to music features 11,600 LED lights on 16 LED Christmas trees with four air blown inflatables including three fire trucks and a helicopter. The lights are synchronized to a variety of Christmas songs including classical, rap and comedy. Hours: Sunday through Thursday 5 to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 5 to 11 p.m.
Do you know of other incredible holiday homes in the SCV? Send an email with the address and a few details to Michele@hometownstation.com and we’ll check out the display and add it to the list.
Santa Clarita Holiday Light Tour Presented by KHTS
How to find the homes on the Holiday Light Tour? Follow along the route mapped out by the KHTS Holiday Light Tour judges:
1. Tidsell, 30523 Deed Ave., Castaic 91387
2. Penguins vs. Flamingos, 29110 Highplains Court, Castaic, CA 91384
3. Christmas Beat, 32451 Sierra Oak Trail, Castaic 91384
4. Ash Court Street in Saugus (use 22502 Ash Court, Saugus, CA, 91390 for your GPS)
5. Jim, Marisa, Gina and Mark Madera, 27721 Essex Place, Valencia
6. Essex Place (use the above address for your GPS)
7. Luminaria Display on Clearidge Drive, Meraweather Place, Essex Place and Mansfield Court in Valencia. Use 23660 Clearidge, Valencia for your GPS.
8. Hannemann, 23501 Clearidge Drive, Valencia.
9. 27708 Meraweather Place, Valencia to start searching for the elves found throughout the neighborhood of Clearidge Drive, Essex Place, Mansfield Court and Meraweather Place.
10. 27317 Chesterfield Drive, Valencia, CA 91354
11. Wakefield Court, Saugus. Bring toys to donate for the Boys and Girls Club and a check for the Bridge to Home shelter. Use 21911 Wakefield Court, Saugus for your GPS.
12. David and Salley Jensen, Wakefield Court, Saugus. Just head to Wakefield Court, (see GPS address above) you can’t miss this house.
13. Canterwood/Cross Creek in Saugus. Use 20997 Canterwood, Saugus for your GPS.
14. Mark and Carla Caple, 22112 Altair Lane, Saugus, CA 91390
15. Hallak, 25086 Cotton Blossom Lane, Stevenson Ranch 91381
16. Musical Christmas trees, 25821 Webster Place, Stevenson Ranch.
17. Maddux, 19121 Dalton Street, Newhall
18. Hobbs Winter Wonderland, 26439 Mistry Ridge Place, Canyon Country, CA 91387
19. 19726 Terri Drive, Canyon Country, the “Santa House.”
20. Leidholdt, 19665 Lonerock Street, Canyon Country, CA 91351