They’re sharing goodness and lightPeople put notes on the Carlson’s door. A simple “thank you,” Bill Carlson says. It’s the neighbors’ way of showing appreciation for what he and Philomenia started when inspired 15 years ago to make a big and bright holiday light display at their Two Harbors home.
People put notes on the Carlson’s door. A simple “thank you,” Bill Carlson says. It’s the neighbors’ way of showing appreciation for what he and Philomenia started when inspired 15 years ago to make a big and bright holiday light display at their Two Harbors home.
The kudos are well-deserved.
Neighbor Lucille “Cookie” Puent said the Carlson’s started a trend that changed Seventh Avenue in the Segog portion of town.
“We’re probably the most decorated street in Two Harbors,” Puent said. She said Bill is a “serious guy,” meaning when he puts his mind to something, he goes all out.
“This corridor looks so great,” Bill said, but he doesn’t want to take credit for the illumination boom spreading across the neighborhood.
“They actually didn’t ask any of us to do it,” Puent said. “All the rest of us … noticed people coming out and doing some looking.”
For the neighbors, it’s “if you build it, they will come” in reverse. But someone had to be first, and it was the Carlsons.
Bill and Phil Carlson began their Christmas cheer in 1994 after stockpiling lights and decorations for a few years after being inspired by a light display in the Twin Cities area, where they once lived. The “12 Days Christmas” display they saw that year has become 16 years of eye-pleasing displays on the North Shore.
The thought was, Bill said, “We have to do this when we get our own place.” They soon found themselves in Two Harbors and shopping in bargain bins during the offseason to build a collection of holiday displays and lights.
Call it mini-Bentleyville North, but with some distinction. The couple has visited the huge public display in Duluth but try to make their corner of the lighted world their own.
“I know where he gets his stuff,” Bill said of founder Nathan Bentley. “I like to have different stuff.”
Bill said there’s no overall theme for the displays, just a general attempt to lift spirits for the season. “We change it around every year,” he said. They try to add at least one new item each year.
Preparations begin in October with icicle ornaments because they are a much harder to put up when it gets colder, Bill said. It’s double-time because the Carlson’s have also begun a Halloween display tradition.
Among the amenities for Christmas are a 12-foot Santa and up to 10,000 lights. The couple spends about 40 hours putting up all the displays.
Despite always waiting for decorations to go on sale, it’s cost a bundle over the years to keep the illumination going. The Carlsons say it’s worth it. One less worry is the electrical bill. They go on a budget plan that keeps the bill the same no matter how large the display gets.
The Carlsons invite everyone to drive by the display at 1831 Seventh Ave. You shouldn’t get out and into their yard because of the many cords creating a tripping hazard. The lights are expected to come down Jan. 2.
Look for the creator’s favorite part of the display. “I like Santa crashing into the tree,” Bill said.