Holidays

Community helps continue long-standing Christmas tradition

Christmas display now spans two blocks

Community continues Preston tradition

PRESTON, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Even though Christmas may be over, most of the holiday decorations are still up. One large Christmas display that will remain up for a few more days is in Preston.

It's a family Christmas tradition spanning five decades. But this year, it took a community to help it continue.

If you drive down 1st West in Preston, you'll hear Christmas music and see a well-lit street of decorations.

Christmas classics like the Grinch, Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" and "Tangled" are just a few of the scenes sitting in people's front yards. Some scenes, such as "Cars," also have movement. 

Altogether, around 40 different scenes can be found along both sides of the street. Each and every scene was completely hand-made by Jeff Hollingsworth and his family.

"We take a coloring book, we blow them up on an overhead projector and we just draw them on the board and I would just tell my kids to paint in the lines," Hollingsworth said. 

Each year, the family would make a new scene to add. Hollingsworth was continuing a tradition his father had started and done for more than 20 years. 

But two years ago Hollingsworth decided it had just become too big and too time-consuming to keep up. He decided he couldn't do it anymore. So his daughter Afton Perry, and her husband Joe, stepped in. 

They went door to door asking neighbors if they could display the scenes in their yards. Last year, only a few neighbors agreed. This year, every yard had at least one scene in it. 

The neighbors not only allow the scenes in the yard, but they also pay the extra cost of the power bill for the month to light the scenes. 

The neighbors said it's worth it and they're glad to be a part of a fun tradition.

"We think it's pretty neat because the kids enjoy it and everybody enjoys driving around here looking at all the lights in Preston," said Kory Kofoed, one of the neighbors participating.

"I just think it's a fun tradition that Jeff Hollingsworth always did for me when I was a kid," said Ryan Elgan, another neighbor. "So I figured why not participate and help the other, younger generation kind of get in the Christmas spirit."

And Perry said that was her family's main goal too - continue the tradition for future generations.

"That was part of our motivation, was my kids would never know those lights," Perry said. "They would never know those scenes and that tradition if we just stopped."

So now what used to take months of work takes a matter of weeks. And what was once only in one man's yard is now spread along two full city blocks. 

The Hollingsworth family said they're grateful to those who are helping keep the tradition going.

"It means a lot," Hollingsworth said. "I spent a lot of years and a lot of time building it and so sure, it feels great that my daughter's keeping it alive and even more so, that the city's getting behind it."

"It's really neat. It really is," Perry said. "There's just a magic about it that you really can't explain until you come and see it."

Hollingsworth said if he's being honest, he does miss it. But he still helps set up the scenes and get everything in order so he still gets to be a central part of it. 

Perry said they hope to be able to expand and grow the display each year. There are more scenes and a lot more lights that weren't able to be put up this year. So Perry said they're hoping to do even more with it next year and maybe get more neighbors on board to really spread the holiday display.


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