A Winter Wonderland

Charis Patires
Lake Sun Leader

These homeowners bring new meaning to the phrase decorating for the holidays — it’s more like a Griswold Family Christmas. It takes months to prepare and put up their holiday decorations before being unveiled to family, friends, neighbors and even passersby who stop to take a peek at the festive lights. From music timed to the movement of lights to dozens of decorated Christmas trees, check out how these families celebrate Christmas at the Lake.

The Roberts impress the neighborhood with their decorations each year.

Putting on a Show

Last holiday season, Stacy and Katie Roberts made quite a scene in their neighborhood. Their 36,000 LED light show, computer programmed and synchronized to holiday music, drew people from all over the Lake area who pulled into the Camelot Estates subdivision to check it out. They plan to come back bigger and better this year — with more twinkling lights than the infamous Griswold house.

Preparations begin weeks in advance to get ready to unveil The Roberts Family Christmas Display just after Thanksgiving. The Roberts have lived in the neighborhood for about 20 years, and have always decorated for Christmas, but really started going overboard within the last couple of years by adding more and more displays, lights and eventually sounds of the season. A few years ago, Stacy decided to synchronize the lights and displays to holiday music. He set up a FM transmitter that broadcasts the songs on a local radio frequency so anyone coming by car can pull over to watch and listen as the displays move to the beat of the music.

A lot of work goes into creating the display each year. It can take as long as eight hours to program one song and as many as 100 hours to put it all together.

The family is thankful that their neighbors are such good sports to welcome the increase in traffic and onlookers. Their goal is just to spread some Christmas cheer.

See the display!

When: Held from the weekend after Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve

Where: 14 Sherwood Court, Camdenton

Sneak peak: Watch a video of last year’s display on Lake Lifestyles magazine’s Facebook page, and find out about this season’s display at Roberts Family Christmas Lights on Facebook.

Hundreds of Christmas trees are strategically placed around Melissa Archidino’s Sunrise Beach home. Each one has a different theme — from snowmen to santas — and are meticulously decorated. In some cases she will use a lot of natural elements including tree limbs that are painted and placed among the décor.

Festive Trees

Each year Melissa Archidino keeps an eye out for Christmas decorations so she can add them to her collection. In order to put out all of her holiday décor, she has to move furniture, and in some cases, remove items including pictures on the wall to be able to fit it all in her Sunrise Beach home.

Spread out among her three-story home are more than 40 large Christmas trees and over 100 various-sized 4-foot-or-smaller ones. Each tree has a different theme, and each has a unique topper, too. Her favorite tree is the angel tree, dedicated to her mom who passed away in 2005. That’s when Melissa started taking more of an interest in decorating for the holidays.

Starting in October, she brings the decorations out of the warehouse and begins to create a winter wonderland. Everything has to be up and ready for get-togethers with family and friends who are lucky enough to get an invitation to one of her holiday parties.

She’s so well-known for her impressive decorating skills that her friends now buy her items they run across while out shopping. Due to the amount of time it takes to decorate, Melissa has started alternating which holiday she decorates for each year —  Halloween/Thanksgiving/fall or Christmas.

While Melissa points out it’s faster to take everything down, there’s no rush to put an end to the season.

“They are so beautiful, I’m in no hurry to take them down,” she says.

Hundreds of Christmas trees are strategically placed around Melissa Archidino’s Sunrise Beach home.