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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Q5: Deck the halls — and the whole neighborhood

  • Local resident, Charlie Estes, and his neighbors are planning a Christmas extravaganza for kids and adults alike.
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  • Local resident, Charlie Estes, and his neighbors are planning a Christmas extravaganza for kids and adults alike.
    1. Can you tell us why you and your neighbors decided to dress up as Santa Clauses and hand out candy in your neighborhood? How long have you been doing this?
    “This idea came about when a few of us who have the most decorations in the neighborhood got together and decided to try it to add to the Christmas Spirit of the neighborhood, and to encourage others who do not decorate at all to at least put out a little something.  
    “This is the first of what we hope to be many years of the Whispering Hills Santa visits.”
    2. When and where will the festive fun be?
    “This year our visit will be from 6 to 9 p.m., Thursday, at the corner of 23rd Street and Hebbeln, Leavenworth.”
    4. Do you think most residents in Leavenworth and Lansing do a pretty good job of decorating for the holidays and how can community members dress up the exteriors of their homes in an easy and inexpensive way?
    “Lots of people in both Leavenworth and Lansing do some fantastic decoration projects.  
    “Our objective is to get some of the ones who do nothing to get out and at least put up a little bit to help boost the spirits in the neighborhood and give others the joy of seeing what can be done.
    “There are a couple of really cheap ways this can be done, the first is hit the stores right after Christmas and get all the discounted items you can.  
    “The second is my favorite, and that is all summer long, yard sales!  You can get good working decorations for pennies on the dollar.”
    5. What are some of the most rewarding and fun parts of taking on the persona of Mr. Claus and showing off your neighborhood's decorations?
    “I have photos of children sitting in Santa's lap from every year I've been in Leavenworth, and there is nothing that gives you a feeling quite as precious as looking at their faces.  
    “For those who've never done it, try it.  You will never forget it for the rest of your life.”
    5. What are some of your favorite decorations that adorn your home and how long does it take you to do the decorating?
    “My favorite decorations are all the clear lights, but my wife prefers multi-colored, so when you see our home you will see a lot of both.  
    “The setup for our house takes three people eight hours each just for the living room.  
    Page 2 of 2 - “There are 245 Santas, tree, village and more.  
    “The outside took three people about 20 hours each this year.  
    “This is the first year we've tried blow-ups out here.  I avoided them in the past due to windy conditions, but they are holding up pretty good.”
    Bonus question: Has your chimney been thoroughly cleaned for the real Santa's arrival?
    “My chimney was cleaned when I bought the house in 2004 and the fireplace has never been used since then so I think Santa will stay clean.  
    “He has so far, because he keeps coming back every year.”
    — Rimsie McConiga
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