Christmas is Stevie Sharkey's favorite holiday.
By RIMSIE McCONIGA
Christmas is Stevie Sharkey’s favorite holiday. The 10-year-old, like most kids her age, eagerly awaits opening her presents on Christmas, but she’s a natural-born giver and making others happy during Christmas is her No. 1 priority. One of her favorite holiday activities is giving money to the Salvation Army bell ringers.
In 2017, Stevie decided that since Christmas light displays not only make her smile, they also dazzle and delight her. She wanted to make sure she could encourage as many people in the local area to decorate as much as possible in order to bring joy to other viewers.
She decided to take matters into her own hands and award the most beautiful exterior light display in town with a prize.
“We were driving around looking at Christmas displays one night and wondering why Leavenworth doesn’t have a contest,” said Stevie’s dad, Tom Sharkey. “Stevie said she wanted to make a trophy for the winner and that’s how the idea was born.”
When judging time draws near as Christmas Day approaches, Stevie, a fourth-grader at Lawson Elementary School, will be ready. Her parents, Tom and Amber Sharkey, will drive her through town from Metropolitan Avenue to Eisenhower Road and from Esplanade to 20th Street to view the light displays.
“We will show her all the beautiful light displays that we can, and she will choose her favorite one to be the winner and hand them a trophy that she will make out of clay and a gift card,” said Tom.
Stevie says the 2017 contest was well worth her time and effort. “It was a huge success. We had like 130 people following my Facebook page. The Rogers family won. I was so excited! Mr. Rogers said he was so happy that people appreciated his lights.”
This year Stevie is starting early to get the word out so hopefully more people will put some lights up around town and get into the Christmas Spirit.
“I want to see even more lights around Leavenworth,” says Stevie. “It was so fun driving with my family to see all the lights and pick a winner.”
To choose the most beautifully decorated home in the local area Stevie said she is looking for lots of pretty, colorful lights, plus a lot of Christmas spirit.
Her mission of choosing the most dazzling light display is secondary, however, to her primary goal of generating enthusiasm in the community.
“I hope it makes people happy and brings smiles to everyone’s faces,” said Stevie.
After Stevie narrows the field of decorated homes she will choose the most dazzling of them all. She will then post the winning house on her special holiday decorating Facebook page. She will then present the handmade trophy and gift card to the lucky winner.
Stevie takes decorating very seriously. And making her own home festive and pretty is important to her. She devotes a lot of time to the details that go into creating beautiful decorative scenes.
She draws, colors and cuts out decorations that she creates to hang up and helps set up the lights both inside and outside. Her favorite use for lights is putting them on the Christmas tree and making them into Christmas characters.
She loves art in school and has used what she has learned to make artistic decisions on the best of the best holiday decorations around town.
She loves to sculpt and paint with her mom, and is determined to become an artist when she grows up.
“This years winner will be announced Dec. 21,” says Tom. “The Friday before Christmas. The prize will be another hand-made trophy by Stevie, plus a $25 giftcard, possibly more. Last year we did $15 but thanks to donations from Corbett Fowler and Sandy DeAltonaga, we gave out a $50 giftcard. Very awesome. Be sure to like and share Stevie’s Second Annual Christmas Light Contest on Facebook. Follow to find out where all the great Christmas light displays are located, who is up in the running and to see who wins. Stevie will be looking for lots of lights and Christmas spirit.”
Stevie’s parents believe that her entrepreneurial skills at this age are a good indicator that big things are in her future.
“She is definitely a leader,” said Tom. “She has a huge heart and is very outspoken. She has a lot of potential and her mom and I are very proud of her. She always makes us proud. Her holiday spirit is contagious. She is just full of love and we love her too.”
The joys of Christmas are many for Stevie. She likes getting presents that she wants and that make her happy, but there are many other things that make her even happier.
“My favorites are visiting with family and driving with my family looking at Christmas lights,” said Stevie. “Also seeing happy faces around the world, seeing Santa (by the way, he is real) and snow. I hope it snows.”