Southland holiday homes for 2013
By Jessi Virtusio firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @JessiVirtusio December 19, 2013 8:35AM
Marty and Alice Vilimek's holiday display, 7821 Columbia Drive, Bridgeview, salutes all aspects of the Christmas season and has been decorated for more than 20 years.
Updated: January 21, 2014 6:09AM
It’s only a few days until Dominic Kowalczyk’s Tinley Park home, 17321 Avon Lane, will be featured on ABC-TV (Channel 7)’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight.”
The Dec. 23 episode will feature a look at the display of 100,000 lights and handmade and store-bought decorations that are choreographed to music.
In the meantime, Southlanders can check out these homes that also are decorated for the holidays.
BRIDGEVIEW: 7821 Columbia Drive by Marty and Alice Vilimek, who have been married nearly 50 years.
This home salutes all aspects of the Christmas season and has been decorated for more than 20 years.
Santa Claus, penguins, Old Glory, a manger, thousands of lights and a Ferris wheel of assorted Santas and reindeer are among the sights.
“At this time of year our display supports both enjoyment for the eyes and Commonwealth Edison,” Marty Vilimek quipped.
“What does Christmas mean to us and why? It is simple, as it is all about family, friends, relatives and the true meaning of Christmas, which is the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day,” the Vilimeks said.
“We decorate our home inside and out so that all may see the joy we get out of this most important holiday. We have won many awards for our outdoor displays, but it is not about that.
“It is simply enjoying the holiday season and Jesus’ birthday. We love to decorate and let everyone see that. Please drive by and see what we love to do.”
(Edited 12/20 to add this online-exclusive item) BRIDGEVIEW: 8639 S. 78th Ave. by Annette and Joe Mitchell.
“My husband and I have been decorating our home inside and out, even the back yard, for the past 20 years,” Annette Mitchell said.
“We decorate our home for every holiday, and people from all over come to see our decorations each year.
“Our home is featured in the book ‘Best Decorated Homes in Chicagoland,’ and we even had a surprise knock at the door by our own mayor, Steve Landek, congratulating us on making Bridgeview proud.
“It takes weeks to put up all of the decorations and much hard work but, most of all, it’s the satisfaction we get when we see the smiling faces of the onlookers. Many come to take pictures of their children in front of our house.
“Our inside of our home is decorated to the hilt, with a village that you wished you lived in. Tons of lights and animated figures adorn this wonderful Christmas house.
“I just love it, and I hate when the day comes when I have to take it all down and pack it away until the next year so stop on by and take a look, and have some hot chocolate and marshmallows while you walk around our joyous home.
“Merry Christmas and a happy new year.”
BURBANK: 6436 W. 85th Place by Dennis Laff.
This 30-minute holiday music and light show runs nightly on the hour from 7-10 p.m. The show can be listened to in the viewer’s vehicle when the radio is tuned to 88.3 FM.
The display features a 20-foot cosmic color ribbon tree and concentric star, a 12-foot RGB light pixel tree, 14 wire light frames, 12 mini trees, 10 mini stars, three arches or fans, four singing Christmas trees, a singing and joke-telling Santa Claus, a virtual Santa, a pink Santa pig, candy canes, strobe lights and wall wash floodlights.
The more than 25,000 light-emitting diode and RGB lights are synchronized to classic holiday songs and humorous parodies.
Videos from previous years are at youtube.com/user/laffdennis.
“As each year passes, I realize more and more that my favorite thing about Christmas is the music and light show at my parents’ house,” Laff’s daughter Jessica Munoz, of Burbank, said.
“The countless hours of planning, construction and assembly in the months before December produce results that are simply amazing.
“Cars full of young and old start lining the street in the beginning of each Christmas season. Music sings. Lights dance. Children dance. A mother and daughter attempt to dance the cancan.
“Parents snap photos of their children in front of the display. ‘Hi, Santa!’ is yelled excitedly from open car windows. Compliments are given. A heartfelt ‘thank you’ is received.
“Spirits are lifted. A community comes together and for 30 minutes everyone feels like a kid on Christmas morning.
“This has made me realize just how much a music and light show can become something so much more. This is why I love my parents: for bringing joy to others, for bringing joy to my children.
“This is why the music and light show at my parents’ house is my favorite thing about Christmas.”
HICKORY HILLS: 7912 W. 99th St. by Greg Pilafas.
This recipient of the 2012 Hickory Hills lights award has added about 15 sets to 20 sets of light-emitting diodes, some blow-up decorations and more incandescent lights.
“My favorite thing about Christmas is the decorating and the reason being is because I lived with my brother when I was younger and he kind of showed me the ropes of decorating,” Pilafas said.
“I have taken over the decorating duties and I love it. To see people stop and check out the lights gives me great joy, and I love being able to make people happy because Christmas is supposed to be the happiest time of the year.”
OAK LAWN: 9400 S. Mobile Ave. by Rick and Care Herpich.
“My husband and I love bringing joy to others and seeing the kids’ faces light up when they see our house,” Care Herpich said.
ORLAND HILLS: 16551 Brigitte Court by Bill and Jen Krueger.
Viewers can tune their radios to 90.3 FM to listen to the Christmas music and watch the lights dance to various songs.
Above the garage is an animated Santa Claus that will tell Christmas-related jokes in between the songs.
Some of the other features are a 20-foot tree, leaping arches, 15 mini Christmas trees and other animated signs throughout the yard.
“Our favorite things about Christmas are spending quality time with friends and family, the snow (who doesn’t like a white Christmas unless you’re the Grinch or a Scrooge?), creating lifelong memories for my children by decorating the outside of our house with all the lights and music, and watching the excitement and happiness it brings to the adults and children that come to see them,” Bill Krueger said.
“It’s a time of giving and remembering those that are less fortunate and the excitement of it all: the waiting and the suspense of my family waiting to see what they are going to get on Christmas morning.”
TINLEY PARK: 17331 Osceola Ave. by Ed and Lori Kulik.
“As a kid we did not have much but my mother would always go all out at Christmas,” Ed Kulik said.
“I remember one year we had a tree so tall we had to cut the bottom off and make a stand because the one we had was too small.
“She would bring out all the boxes of the village, and we would put them all together and set it up, and then the final piece was the old Marx train, which I still have.
“When I got married we started to decorate from day one, inside and out. I enjoy all the smiles on people’s faces and all the comments on how they look forward to our display.
“We have moms bring their kids, and now the kids are bringing their children. As I was setting up this year I had a couple stop and they wondered why we did not decorate last year.
“I told them my daughter in Texas had our third grandchild and we spent the holidays with them. They were so excited that I was out there hanging lights so I guess the bottom line is: I enjoy the fact that other people get the same enjoyment as I do.”
Share your suggestions
Leave a comment at the end of this article to share your suggestions of outdoor displays to check out in the south suburbs.