The Stauss house enters Christmas light sabbatical
This Christmas season will be less bright than usual. That's because Lynn and Marjorie Stauss, for the first time in 44 years, won't smother their East Grand Forks home and yard in Christmas lights. The city's light department may not make budget...
This Christmas season will be less bright than usual.
That's because Lynn and Marjorie Stauss, for the first time in 44 years, won't smother their East Grand Forks home and yard in Christmas lights. The city's light department may not make budget for 2010.
That's because there are Christmas light displays and then there are CHRISTMAS LIGHT DISPLAYS. The Stauss family's is the latter, with a few exclamation points attached.
Lynn is best known as the mayor of East Grand Forks. The Pat (Owens) and Lynn Duet made perfect harmony in luring millions in flood recovery money after 1997. Unlike most males, he was able to put his ego in the back seat, realizing a 4-foot-11, plucky grandma was more capable of attracting sympathetic government riches than a white, middle-aged male, even if he was wearing a USA sweatshirt.
Along with his work in reviving East Side in the 13 years since, an equal contribution has been his Christmas light displays that have brought much joy to young and old alike.
Thanksgiving Day evening always marked the start of the light show. Decorations too numerous to count were strewn on the Stauss home, garage, shed and lawn.
"We put up thousands of lights," Lynn said. "How many thousands? I have no idea. I don't even want to venture a guess"
The house was dark Thursday. A sprained ankle and an aching leg this fall prevented the decorating, he said. Like Rome, the Stauss decorations aren't built in a day, especially on a gimpy ankle. Eleven evergreens in the yard were only a fraction of the show.
"We decided to take one year off," he said. "We're not sure if we'll go back to it or not. What we really enjoyed was seeing how much the older people and kids enjoyed it."
Lynn started the outside displays when he was 18 and living with his parents, and continued the tradition after marriage in their three homes. The homes got bigger and so did the displays.
"We've filled up a lot of rooms with decorations that could be used for other things," Lynn said of his current James Avenue home that includes an additional garage built to house Santas more than vehicles.
"We always waited for the light sales at the end of the year."
Neighbors jokingly complained that they fear brownouts during the Christmas season. Their fears may not be over.
"If we do continue with the lights next year, we'll be going with the LED lights," Lynn said. "They're the big thing for the future."
Reach Bakken at (701) 780-1125; (800) 477-6572, ext. 125; or send e-mail to email@example.com .