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Home for the holidays

The Signal’s 15th annual Holiday Light Tour, Home for the Holidays, will cruise the SCV Dec. 6

Posted: November 14, 2008 8:54 p.m.
Updated: November 15, 2008 4:55 a.m.

Elaborate holiday lighting and decor bring holiday spirit to the Santa Clarita Valley. The Signal's annual Holiday Light Tour will be held Dec. 6. Winning homes and streets will be featured in The Signal on Dec. 12. A new "People's Choice" award will be voted on at www.the-signal.com.

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Light poles decorated like candy canes, flying reindeer, cotton batting as snow, lights and lights and lights ... there is nothing more glorious in the Santa Clarita Valley than the holidays. I've been fortunate to be a part of The Signal's Holiday Light Tour since 1999 and I've enjoyed every moment. It is wonderful to see how much time and effort people put into decorating their homes for the holidays and how much joy it brings to the rest of the SCV.

For weeks I'll field phone calls from anxious residents wondering when our map of the best holiday homes will be published. It's one of the best parts of my job.

This year we chose the theme "Home for the Holidays" because we think many people just want to hide from all the bad news that's out there in the world and celebrate family and home. I think the idea of "home" makes us feel safe, so we wanted our theme to reflect a warm, cozy, safe holiday with family and friends.

So what can residents do to create a winning entry?

Each year we have a different group of judges, but it seems that the judges love homemade decorations. We always appreciate clever arrangements of store-purchased décor, but it seems that the homemade decorations always score the biggest points.

I, personally, like colored lights, but many of the judges are fans of the "all white light" look - so that's the fun part of the evening, agreeing to disagree on what kind of holiday lights we like best.

When we first started this contest 15 years ago it really was all about the lights. But as the years passed it was interesting to note how many more people started adding the inflatable figures and all kind of manufactured décor. It's really fun to see homes evolve throughout the years, what they've added to their collection of holiday décor.

As journalists we're supposed to be above bribes; however, this is one contest where participants are encouraged to bribe the judges - although I've never seen it actually make a difference in the scores.

From hot chocolate to cookies, and all kind of sweet treats, I've never met a Holiday Light Tour bribe I didn't enjoy. (Hint: Kahlua hot chocolate is my very favorite!)

The streets that get together in the SCV and create the proverbial "Candy Cane Lanes" are magnificent! Some of these streets simply take your breath away and turn you back into a small child, gazing in wonder. Sometimes it is hard to take it all in!

We will have awards for first and second place individual homes, best theme and best overall street.

New to the Holiday Light Tour contest will be an online opportunity for residents to enter photos of their homes to compete for the "People's Choice Holiday Lights" award. This online contest will be separate from our annual Holiday Light Tour. SCV residents will be able to submit their homes for judging online and people can vote online to decide the "People's Choice" award. However, to earn a berth on our Dec. 6 Tour please fill out an entry form in today's paper.

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