The shopping list of items for illuminating a dazzling holiday light display is extensive. To match some of the ones featured here, you'll need:
> 15,000-50,000 (or more) lights
> Dozens of inflatables
> Boy Scout skills
> Decorations used by Mom
> 300 feet (or more) of cable
> Time -- from several days to several weeks for setup
Many holiday light displays are family affairs that create lasting and cherished memories. Joseph and Helen Prestia of Merrick decorate for all the holidays that precede Christmas, including Valentine's Day and Easter. But Christmas for the couple is especially sentimental for the ways the holiday reminds them of their mothers.
"My mother [Anna Prestia] used to spend hours through the night decorating her front bow window," Joseph Prestia said. "We would spend many hours looking for a fresh Christmas tree because it had to be the perfect tree. . . . It was decorated absolutely magnificently. That was her pride and joy."
The Prestias decorate one of their Christmas trees with Santa Claus lights that belonged to Angie Duffy, Helen Prestia's mother.
Sometimes, a relative's passing dims a holiday display before it returns to light the season again.
"Two Christmases ago we did not put up our Christmas lights because my father-in-law [Edward Burgie] had passed away," said Edward Ryder of Port Jefferson Station. "We received a letter in our mailbox from someone stating they miss the lights. We also received a Christmas plant from a family sending us their condolences. It meant a lot that the families that we touch with our lights cared about our family."
At the St. James home of the Marciante family, four generations' worth of caring shines through in a display that is merry and bright -- and begins to take shape as soon as Halloween passes.
"My grandpa was a window trimmer," said Laura Marciante. "He taught me less is more, make it neat, space out your displays, take a step back and look at it. Can you see it from every angle; is it tasteful? Have some rhyme to your reason. My dad taught me the construction part of it -- hide the wires, how to splice lines together, how to climb a ladder, how to walk on the roof, tack it down so it can't fall over in windy storms, but mostly make it look colorful and bright. So when someone asks me, 'Who did your house? It looks professionally done!' it makes me think of them and that makes me smile."
Smiles, wonder, awe, joy -- they're part of the season and the holiday lights of Long Island.
At the Probst home in Massapequa Park, which was featured in last week's holiday lights issue, a pear tree encased in sapphire blue lights is the beacon for a bright display that draws neighbors and other Long Islanders. Pat Probst uses a lift to string the lights, starting at the top of the tree, according to his wife, Laura. If all goes well -- son John, 15, is responsible for fixing any glitches with bulbs -- he gets the job done in about four to five hours with the help of a friend on the ground.
"Everybody loves the blue tree," Laura Probst said.
Visitors can enjoy the lights and take pictures in front of the display through Jan. 2, but Monday, from 7 to 9 p.m., they can donate to the Cancer Center for Kids at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola while sipping on hot chocolate, enjoying candy canes and listening to live holiday music courtesy of Danielle Probst, 17, and some friends from Massapequa High School. If Mother Nature doesn't cooperate, the rain date is Dec. 28.
No matter what the weather holds, in LI Life today and last Sunday, Dec. 14, you can see the best of the holiday light displays submitted to Newsday.
We hope you enjoy the bright and bountiful lights of the season, and we thank those responsible for the beautiful glow.
Tracy M. Brown,
LI Life editor
DAZZLE US NEXT YEAR
Newsday chooses homes for the Holiday Lights edition based on nominations from homeowners or their friends, relatives and neighbors.
The deadline for 2015 submissions is Dec. 1, 2015.
Some steps to help you get ready:
1. When filing your entry, include photos of your 2015 display. Entries of previous displays will not be considered. Newsday begins asking for nominations in October.
2. As next year's holiday season approaches, watch for the Holiday Lights coupon and the LILife reminder for more details about nominations of decorated houses.
3. Homes with light displays featured in LI Life in the past three years are not eligible for submission but can be included in a listing of displays to visit across Long Island.
MORE HOMES WITH AMAZING LIGHTS
Load up the car and take a spin around Long Island to see other homes illuminated for the season, including some on this list that were nominated for the Holiday Lights issue. Some have synchronized light displays and donation boxes for a worthy cause.
2840 Eastern Blvd., the Caputo family (collecting donations for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital)
958 Adams St., the Frisch family (collecting donations for the Animal Cancer Foundation)
2323 Centre Ave., the Prainito family
325 St. Marks Ave., the Romeo family (display is synchronized to music)
178 North Fifth St., the Granata family (display is synchronized to music)
74 Broadway, the Henn family
3 Malibu Lane, the Fabris family (collecting donations for Stony Brook Children's Hospital)
3 Irene Court, the Terzakos family
17 Rimlet Dr., the Pfeiffer family
11 Loretta Court, the Brown family
5 Forest Lane, the Fleming family
3 Albright Rd., the Williams family
247 W. 20th St., the Catanzaro family
2013 North Jerusalem Rd., the Bivona-Borriello family
21 Cherry St., the Ondrovic family
1360 Clay St., the Buturla family
5 Pinehurst Rd., the Mazzella family
232 Kalb Ave., the Cullen family
991 Second Ave., the DiRe family
4 Lincoln St., the Schlatter family (display is synchronized to music; collecting donations for cancer research)
Garden City Park
58 2nd St., the Skrobe family
47 Primrose Ave., the Gluck family
21 9th St., the Taggart family
109 Glensummer Rd., the Murphy family
21 Kivy St., the Baade family
13 Weston St., the Kielawa family
6 Walden Ave., the Chazotte family (collecting donations for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital)
8 Colby Dr., the Esposito family
117 Schoolhouse Rd., the Aquilina family
509 Parker Ave., the Smith family
48 Club Lane, the Stevens family
240 S. Third St., the Vezzi family
205 Rocklyn Ave., the Albert family
55 Winthrop St., the Amico family
20 Bruce Dr., the Breimann family
44 Ohio Ave., the Testa family
144 Koehl St., the Enderley family
12 Pompano Lane, the Icart family
122 Atlantic Ave., the Probst family (collecting donations for the Cancer Center for Kids at Winthrop-University Hospital)
309 Philadelphia Ave., the Scarpias family
5 Laura Court, the Forbes family
44 Deer Lake Dr., the White family
1369 Dewey Ave., the Whittaker-Perez family
1370 Dewey Ave., the Loesel family
544 North Oak St., the Cerra family
186 N. Syracuse Ave., the Oemcke family (collecting donations for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital)
1038 West Dr., the Presti family
144 Weidner Ave., the Sitzman family (display is synchronized to music)
18 Helen Ave., the Chelosky family
33 Jamaica Ave., the Spagnuolo family (collecting for the Make-A-Wish Foundation)
Port Jefferson Station
6 Erie St., the Ryder family
8A Fifth St., the Curto family
135 N. Huron St., the Tomasello family
203 Johnson Ave., the Theofield family (collecting items for the Sayville food pantry)
745 Arlington Dr., the Dabbraccio family
52 King Ave., the Marrocco family (collecting for the Make-A-Wish Foundation; St. Jude Children's Research Hospital; and the Stay Strong Andrew Foundation)
69 Baybright Dr. W., the Hassler family
23 Northumberland Dr., the Ferrara family
2845 Charles Rd., the Breeze family
175 Marcy St., the Mauser family (collecting for a hospital)
1101 Herzel Blvd., the Osman family
430 17th St., the Saraceno family