Glittering lights makes them feel young

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 23, 1999

VIDALIA, La. – The first-place winners of Vidalia’s Christmas decoration contest decorated their houses and yards to delight local children — and, in the process, made themselves feel like children again.

It took Bobby and Velma Calhoun of 163 Lee Ave. three days to place wooden 101 Dalmations, reindeer and snowmen cutouts in their yard; string lights around trees; cover shutters with red foil; and wrap red ribbons to transform their front porch columns into candy canes.

The end result won first place in the children’s decoration category. &uot;But we weren’t even thinking about winning an award,&uot;&160;Velma said. &uot;My husband and I do it every year for the grandchildren.&uot;

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Not that the grandchildren don’t help decorate. &uot;The 3-year-old had to help me paint,&uot;&160;she said with a laugh.

Tana Archer — who, with husband Marc, decorated their new house at 1201 Concordia Ave. — admits she did it all for the sake of her &uot;inner child&uot;&160;as well.

&uot;The children said ‘Mama, you don’t have to do this,’&uot; Tana said. &uot;But it brings out the kid in me. I’ll probably still be doing this when they’re 25.&uot;

White wooden reindeer graze in the middle of the driveway circle of the Archers’ house, which won the contemporary decoration award. Icicle lights make their way around the house, and a magnolia wreath decorates the front door.

&uot;I&160;don’t know why we won … we only strung some lights up,&uot;&160;she said. &uot;The house next door really deserves an award.&uot;

Not to worry. David and Ellen Yates of 1203 Concordia Ave. also won first place — this one in the traditional category.

Like the Archers’ house next door, the Yates’ windows are covered with pine wreaths and their house is accented with green garland and red bows. &uot;I’ve always enjoyed decorating, plain and simple,&uot;&160;Ellen said.

&uot;I feel more Christmas spirit just looking at it.&uot;