Highland says goodbye to a festive resident

Last+year%E2%80%99s+decorations%2C+completed+by+Santa+taking+pictures+with+the+children.
Last year’s decorations, completed by Santa taking pictures with the children.

Last year’s decorations, completed by Santa taking pictures with the children.

Amanda Widdall

Amanda Widdall

Last year’s decorations, completed by Santa taking pictures with the children.

Zach Gaskey, Writer

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Outdoor decorations are a popular Christmas tradition, and many people enjoy seeing all of the beautiful decorations people put up each year. Over the years, you may have noticed one house in particular that stands out above the rest, and some of you might even have taken pictures with Santa there. Sadly, this year, you may also have noticed the sign in the front yard that has replaced the decorations.

The owner of the house, Samuel Widdall Sr., has been a Highland resident since 1979. He and his father-in-law have decorated their home for their favorite holiday every year since the very first year they bought the house in 1986.

“We do add new decorations and lights every year and had to build additions to our shed to try to store everything. I started synchronizing the lights with music about seven years ago so that added an extra dimension to our display. Some of the decorations are so heavy and large that my entire family had to help in the set-up!” Widdall said.

How did the Santa tradition begin?

“In 2001, because of 9/11, (my father-in-law and I) came up with the idea of dressing up as Santa. We wanted to do something extra that year to brighten up everyone’s spirits. We dressed up as Santa and stood outside from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm every night but Sunday and waved, passed out candy canes, and took pictures with anyone who wanted a picture with Santa. My father-in-law passed away five years ago so I, with help from my son have, been Santa,” Widdall said, “We have had many different reactions to our ‘Santa by the street,’ including being cussed out, sign language with one finger, throwing bottles, but many more waves, friendly smiles, ‘I love you Santa’ or ‘Santa, you rock’ comments, along with many thousands of people beeping their horns.”

Amanda Widdall
Widdall synchronizes the lights to Christmas music.

Widdall is in the process of moving to Texas, and only had time to put up a few decorations, as well as the sign. What decorations were up, have been stolen.

“This year my display was very small due to the fact that we are planning to move to Texas and I am commuting back and forth so my time is extremely limited. We put up a sign thanking everyone for celebrating Christmas with us all these years along with my laser lights, projection lights, and lighted Christmas trees. Our decorations were stolen on November 24th between 5:00 pm and 5:15 pm,” Widdall said.

The stolen decorations cost about 900 dollars, but what is that compared to the value of all of their decorations?

Widdall said, “I’m not sure I could put a value on all our decorations since we made many of them and their value is sometimes measured by the smiles on people’s faces.”

“Our move to Texas has nothing to do with the decorations being stolen,” Widdall said. “If I was staying here, I would be lighting up bigger and better than ever!”

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