By Anthony J. Machcinski
While the economy, bad weather, and busy schedules have done their best to ruin the happiness behind the holidays, one group of residents has done their best to keep the spirit of the holidays.
Every year, millions of people across the nation decorate for Christmas, and none are more diligent in their decoration than the residents of Noel Drive in North Arlington.
“We started the year that we moved in (1990),” said Noel Drive resident Bernadette Antonelli. “We did it because that’s what everyone in the neighborhood did. We’ve always done a lot.”
Winners of three awards this year, from North Arlington Recreation, State Fair Superstore, and a Christmas Countdown Decorating Award on Twitter, the Antonelli family easily have one of the most recognizable houses on the block.
“Everyone would know that something happened if we didn’t decorate one year,’ Antonelli said.
The Antonelli family have their own process in order to try and organize and simplify the decorating. However, even with this organization process, decorating the outside of the house is generally a three-day affair.
“I’m in charge of the layout and (my husband) Tom is in charge of all the wiring so that it’s all lit and it stays that way,” Antonelli explained. “Tom has perfected the art of wrapping the cords.”
While the decorating process is a family bonding experience, the main reason Antonelli does it is for her children, Brianna and Michael.
“We did it for the kids and they help us put it together,” Antonelli explained. “It’s noted on our block that the homes on Noel Drive are always so decorated.”
Noel Drive is so well-known for its holiday decorations, in fact, that several families travel to the area just to be able to take pictures of the magnificent houses.
“One year, we had a family that went out at 11 p.m. and they were just taking pictures,” Antonelli remembered. “We heard noise outside so when I looked out the window I saw them laughing and taking pictures. All we could do was laugh.”
Every year, the Antonellis try to change up the decorations to give viewers a different experience than the year before.
“We’ve never had the same thing two years in a row,” Antonelli explained. “Last year we had a big waving Santa. We’ve had a big Ferris wheel too. We always just try to put something in the center.”
Even with the bad economy, the Antonelli’s still continue to put up elaborate displays.
“We really don’t (think about the economy), but the spirit of Christmas and the holidays has always meant something,” Antonelli said.
In these harsh times, the spirit of the holidays should always come through.