Dec. 25 , 2006

'Tis the season

By Ivan Raconteur
Staff Writer

Jason Ziermann dismisses the suggestion that he might have a touch of the Clark Griswold syndrome, but looking at the acres of lights and decorations that surround his Lester Prairie home, one has to wonder.

“If I tried to put all of this stuff on a regular city lot, it would look terrible, but here, it seems to work,” Ziermann said, looking over the display, which he said covers about 3.5 acres.

His house is located at 18217 Baldwin Court, off of McLeod County Road 1, just south of Lester Prairie.

Every tree and structure is adorned with lights, and the landscape is dotted with inflatable figures and Christmas-themed vignettes.

Ziermann shares the home with his wife, Kim, and their children, Jordan, 9, and Jerika, 5, but he said he does most of the outdoor decorating himself.

Jordan helped for a few hours this year, stringing lights around the lower branches of some evergreens, but Ziermann hopes that both of his children will be able to help him more in the years to come.

It is easy to understand why he would want some help. Ziermann estimates that this year, he spent 120 hours just on stringing Christmas lights.

He begins by working at night, when he gets home from his construction job.

Ziermann said there were no holiday lights in his neighborhood when he moved in six years ago, but his display has grown each year, and others have started to put up Christmas lights, too.

Ziermann said he likes to add to his display each year, and it continues to get bigger and bigger.

He buys most of his lights at Target, where his wife is employed.

“We wait until they are 90 percent off, and then we stock up,” he commented.

Ziermann lamented the fact that two of the giant candy cane arches he ordered for his driveway are still lost in shipping, but brightened when he explained that he has already purchased some new items for next year.

He explained that he and his neighbor went to an auction where the City of Young America was selling off some of its holiday decorations.

There was a moment when there was a vision of lighting up Baldwin Court all the way to the county road, but after he realized that the pieces each included 80 40-watt bulbs, he though better of it.

“I did come home with a few things, though,” he commented.

“There will be lots more next year,” Ziermann said, looking around his yard.

This year, Ziermann will keep the display lit until Jan. 1, and he encourages people to stop by for a look.

“There is a turnaround at the top of the driveway, and people can feel free to drive up and turn around there,” he commented.

“Some people tell me I’m crazy, and I tell them, ‘somebody has to be.’ It wouldn’t be any fun if everyone was the same,” he said, with red and green lights reflected on his face.

“After all,” he added, “‘Tis the season.”

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