Arroyo Court Christmas House celebrates the 30th anniversary of the holiday season – The 101


By Robin Bogue

December 1 marked the 30th anniversary of Cynthia Youngern’s holiday tradition of decorating her home on Arroyo Court in Orcutt, Calif., And immersing neighbors in the holiday spirit. Over the 30 years of decorating, the tradition has grown on the street and around the corner, including tractor rides, hay-lined trailers, horses, singers and dancing ballerinas. Inspired by the Hallmark Holiday films, Cynthia created a Hallmark script for all to see.

When asked why she decorates for the holidays, Cynthia modestly declares that Christmas decoration is her gift for everyone: “And the craziest thing is, I love to decorate! Olive trees in the front yard inspired the purchase of the house in 1991 and set the stage for 60,000 lights, whimsical handmade decor, street lights, lanterns and 13 artificial trees that await their ornaments each year. vacation. Each year is unique compared to previous years. Longtime neighbor Kurt Mason runs his hands in his pockets every year to look until he finds something different and exclaims, “This is it; I can see it now. ”One year there were flashing red lights while other years there were no flashing lights.

Lea Ybarra lived in the cul-de-sac from 1993 to 2003 and joined in the Christmas cheer by creating handmade lollipop accessories to use as well. Lea fondly remembers a year of background music to coordinate with the tree lights. Lea describes her former neighbor: “Cynthia makes this magic happen, it’s contagious, it’s Christmas and they are good people!” Her Christmas spirit spread, it was such a fun time, and it wasn’t just the beauty she created; it was a family in the cul-de-sac.

Around the corner, Robyn Freeman has lived in the neighborhood for 26 years, watching the joy grow over the years. Her adult children come home from school for the holidays and always ask to see the lights. “It’s a great tradition; we look forward to it every year! Courtney Arensdorf has lived in the neighborhood for 15 years and each year walks through the cul-de-sac with her family to appreciate the labor of love, hard work and dedication. Two years ago, Dr Arensdorf and Courtney joined the tequila and tractor ride offered by another neighbor, Dennis and Janet Silveria.

The Adult Tractor Ride has been a 12-year Silveria work party that includes a scenic tour of Arroyo Court. Dennis restored a 100 Farmhaul tractor given to him by a local farmer, John Freitas, transporting the tractor from Guadalupe to Orcutt on a low bed. During the week, Dennis and Janet take the neighborhood kids for a walk to see the Christmas lights. Dennis says of Cynthia, “She got me going; she is the lady who makes Christmas and the holidays good. Dennis would love to recreate Lollipop Lane near College Street as a child; he wants the neighborhood to be in the spirit of the holidays. (I believe they captured the essence of the holidays of years gone by!)

At the beginning of November with 30 bins requisitioning two rooms in the house, Cynthia spends nearly 40 hours doing a little here and a little there. Decorating the roof is a science with its diamond design that reproduces a gingerbread house in a Grimm’s fairy tale using about six precious hours out of 40. Cynthia will staple strands to the roof with 60 boxes of 100 strands light with icicles hanging down from the roofline with all new incandescent lighting. Red, green, and gold are her favorite light color combinations.

In the last five days of November, she focuses on the yard as the body of the house is completed. Cynthia takes time off from work to test everything and put the finishing touches with 16 timers and 16 takes. The spirit behind the magic sets it up, turns it on, walks away and turns around in search of the WOW factor. If Cynthia didn’t get the look she was working for, she would start over and repeat the scene until she was satisfied. Spraying Hula hoops in black and tying stars to float freely in the middle as if suspended in the air, Cynthia created a whimsical design to hang in trees.

New for this year are handmade North Pole lights and a gnome village made from tomato cages. The lights will be 5:30 to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 5:30 to 10 p.m. on weekends. The magic ends on December 27 with dismantling and storage for the following year.

The electricity bill averages $ 45 per month, but it skyrockets to $ 500 per month in December. Cynthia has won numerous awards over the years for her holiday decoration. In 1997, she won Lights, Sights and Holiday Nights. In 2009, Joni Gray, former Fourth District Supervisor, recognized Arroyo Court as the “best block” for Santa Barbara County. And his preferred prize is the “Clark Griswold” prize of The pioneer of Orcutt, in which she is nicknamed Mrs. Griswold by those who know her. Cynthia’s favorite memories include two little girls in ballerina outfits dancing on the Nutcracker Suite in its front yard. Another little girl in a red coat walked down the cul-de-sac every night before bed. She would be around 30 years old now.

Wondering if it decorates the interior of the house? The answer is no! By the time she’s done decorating the exterior of the house, Cynthia is running out of gas. Walk past, walk and stop to say ‘hello’ and get yourself a candy cane as it’s an annual tradition, and Cynthia loves to greet everyone with a smile.

Cynthia Youngern creates the magic of Christmas, living the zest for life and all its spirit at 5223 Arroyo Court, Orcutt, CA 93455.


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