WINDSOR — One of the many joys of the holiday season comes from admiring the bright lights and decorations that cover people’s houses and yards.
This year in Windsor, the best of those decorations will be judged and honored in the 2022 Deck the House Holiday Light Contest.
Registration for the annual contest is currently open on the Recreation Department’s website and applications must be received by noon on Dec. 6. There is no entry fee and the contest is limited to the first 20 houses.
WHAT: The Town of Windsor is again sponsoring its Deck the House Holiday Light Contest.
CATEGORIES: Prizes will be awarded for Best in Show, People’s Choice, and Teen Choice.
REGISTRATION: Registration is currently open and applications must be received by noon on Dec. 6. The contest is limited to the first 20 houses. To register, visit townofwindsorct.com/recreation.
Each house’s exterior will be judged on creativity, originality, color coordination, appearance, and effort. There will be five different awards distributed in the form of a Visa gift card. The first place prize for Best in Show will receive $100, second place will receive $75, and third will receive $50.
There will also be a People’s Choice Award decided by the public with a prize of $100, along with $100 for the Teen Choice Award winner.
“It’s a lot of planning in the head, but it’s well worth it,” said Mark Julien of Poquonock Avenue, who has been competing in the contest for the past three years and won third place in 2019.
“We have competitions with our friends and it’s awesome,” he said. “We think it’s great.”
Julien said that he starts setting up his decorations right after Halloween. His yard is covered with around 45 items, including a 9-foot Santa Claus, 12-foot nutcrackers, four fake trees and a ton of inflatables — and he’s not done yet.
“It takes quite a long time,” Julien added. “We’re still putting final touches on it.”
He also has lights hanging on the gutters and garland around the doors. His favorite addition this year is a 9-foot snowman.
Julien’s strategy for designing and arranging the decorations in his yard has to do with how they will look from coming from both sides of his street.
“It’s like you have a thought, then you have to think about where you put everything and how you spread it out and how it looks nice to the people that are driving by that side and the other side,” he said.
But winning isn’t the most important part of the contest for Julien. He said that people often beep and wave as they drive by, and some people even leave notes in his mailbox about how much their kids love his house.
“If there weren’t any prizes at all, we’d still do it,” he said.
Julien also hosts an event where people are welcome to bring their dogs to his house to take a picture with Santa Claus. He asks that people bring unopened dog food to donate to local pet food pantries.
Last year was the first time Julien organized the event and he said that they collected about two dead full of dog food.
“We’re lucky that the town offers this program,” Julien said. “I’m so thankful that I’m well enough to do this and that I can do it for the dogs when it comes time for Santa Claus and the community when it comes time for Christmas.”
Judging for the Best in Show awards will be done on Dec. 13 from 5 to 10 pm and voting for the People’s Choice Award will close on Dec. 18. Winners will be announced on the town’s Facebook page on Dec. 19
For more information or to register, visit
Collin covers South Windsor and East Hartford for the Journal Inquirer.