When it comes to decorating for the holidays, the Burnet mother-daughter team of Glynda McBride and Mara Knelson don’t have to keep up with the Joneses.
They are the Joneses.
They began decking Knelson’s home at 221 Corder Lane in Christmas cheer several years ago, and the good tidings have expanded to include seven neighbors’ houses and yards.
“The kids get such a kick out of this, and older people,” McBride said. “It makes people happy, and we like making people happy.”
The festive holiday decorations are complete with dancing, flashing lights synced to Christmas carols that can be heard via a home sound system or by tuning in to 107.1 FM. It’s sure to brighten spirits.
You can view the display for free from 4:30-10 p.m. daily through January 4. But McBride and Knelson have a simple request: non-perishable food donations for Lakes Area Care Inc. LACare is a Burnet pantry that provides food to people in need living in the Burnet Consolidated Independent School District. If you can’t get out of your vehicle to drop the food in the provided bin, honk your horn and Knelson will come get it.
The most donations the two collected in one season were 400 pounds of food and $400 in cash. They’d like to top that.
Knelson’s parents started the Christmas display in their Hoover’s Valley neighborhood more than a decade ago. When Knelson moved to Burnet, her mother suggested she take start her own. That was five years ago. The two quickly realized they had more decorations than Knelson had room for in her yard. They asked the neighbors if they wouldn’t mind the overflow.
Each yard has a theme: Whoville from the Dr. Seuss book, the Island of Misfit Toys, Candyland, the birth of the savior, the North Pole, and a traditional Christmas scene complete with “the Duffer,” a male mannequin sitting in front of a fireplace and Christmas tree. That display also has a white tree with pink ornaments to honor cancer fighters and survivors.
“This is one hundred percent a labor of love,” Knelson said as she surveyed the neighborhood.
A new Christmas song is added each year; most are traditional favorites. McBride noted it takes four hours to sync two minutes of blinking lights with music. Because of the sound system, people will be able to hear the music at every house if they’re not tuned to the radio station.
“It’s kind of like our community service,” McBride said. “We like to think of it as doing something for the community. This is what you do when you don’t have money but you got talent.”
After Christmas, the two will shop holiday clearance aisles for next season’s display. Meanwhile, the list of neighbors wanting to be involved is growing.
Neither knows how much they’ve spent on items for the display, which number around 300.
“The holidays to us aren’t monetary,” Knelson said. “It’s the fun, the warmth, the love. Everybody gets together. That’s everything to me for Christmas.”