A glowing Nativity scene, an interactive Santa Claus, a giant nutcracker wielding a sword and a bear on a big rocking horse are among the decorative features of Don Bunce’s Santa Clara home at 1451 Lincoln Street. The decorations at the Bunce home will stay up until the New Year weekend. Although Bunce and his wife have been decorating their home during the holiday season for the last 15 to 20 years, the couple didn’t decorate their home last year.
“People got mad at us,” Bunce says. “People knocked on my door and asked why we didn’t decorate our home. So this year, we decided to do it again. I do this for my four grandkids.”
Bunce, Tom Chavez and Rick Crocker, won this year’s Holiday Decoration Contest in the residence category, hosted by the City of Santa Clara. These three individuals have decorated winning homes in past years and are no strangers to creating spectacular holiday ensembles. Winners get a sign to display in their yard and are typically recognized at a City Council meeting.
“I’ve been decorating my house during the holidays for 15 years,” says Chavez, at 345 Sloat Ct. “We give up the garage for Christmas. Everything in this driveway is homemade. The cut outs are cartoon characters such as Stitch, three Disney characters as the Three Caballeros, Sponge Bob, Phineas and Ferb and Santa. We drew the characters on plywood and then we cut and painted them. My children picked the characters and my wife Peggy designed them…The lights are comprised of a long candy garland. This was made out of takeout food containers wrapped in colored plastic…I usually keep displays up until mid-January.”
Chavez points out the Nativity scene set up on the second floor of his home. “We are Christian and we want to make sure the Christmas message gets out,” he says. “There’s also the holy star and angels above the Nativity scene.”
Not only was Crocker’s home at 4292 Burdick Lane named a residence winner, his decorated street was named the best neighborhood again.
“Every year we do something different and this year we added a golden hot air balloon,” says Crocker, who will begin taking down his decorations after the New Year. “The hot air balloon is hanging between two trees like it’s floating. We also have a new butterfly and a few new penguins.”
A stroll down Burdick Lane in the evening reveals bright ornaments hanging from trees and garlands of lights streaming through the air.
“Most of the ornaments hanging on the trees on both sides of the street are ornaments I’ve picked up over the years,” Crocker says. “Every year the neighbors add more stuff to their houses too.”
This year’s special recognition winners are 2563 Benton St., 2839 Toyon Dr. and 2877 Taper Ave. The best tree winner is at 923 Blossom Dr. Faith Bumper Service, at 1085 Di Giulio Ave., is the best business winner.