This 25-foot decorated Christmas tree adorns the lobby of the Columbia Center in Troy.

This 25-foot decorated Christmas tree adorns the lobby of the Columbia Center in Troy.

Photo by Donna Dalziel

Businesses and families light up for the holidays

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published December 18, 2019


TROY — For Mark Walters and wife Heather, son Brody, 6, and daughter Stella, 5, decorating for the holidays is something they do every year.

Mark Walters said his wife tackles the inside, and he and the kids put up lights outside every year before it gets cold.

“We try to get it done before Thanksgiving,” he said. “It takes two days. It’s something fun I do with the kids. Every year I’ll add something. We don’t turn it on until after Thanksgiving dinner.”

The Walters’ decorations include a lighted Nativity scene and lighted figurines.

“I have no clue how many (lights) or how much,” Mark Walters laughed. “I don’t add it up.”

The Walters received the Merry Little Christmas Award at Troy City Hall Dec. 16 for having the best holiday decorated home.

Mark Walters said he had no idea their home on Lyster Lane had been nominated for the award.

“I got a letter from the city in the mail and I wondered, ‘Why is the water bill coming in this?’ It’s awesome to be recognized.”

Erin Lilly’s family decorations — which feature Mickey and Minnie Mouse, a noel candle, Santa, giant snowflakes in the windows, a Nativity scene and flashing lights — won the Elfin Magic Award Dec. 16.

“The lights dance to Christmas music,” Lilly explained.

They moved into their home on Crestline Drive in 2015 and have decorated for the holidays each year since. Lilly explained that they also decorate for Halloween.

“We’ve got it down to a routine,” she said. “As soon as we take the Halloween lights off the house, we put up the Christmas lights.”

She explained that they finish their display the day after Thanksgiving, rain or shine, cold or not. “It takes us about a full day,” she said. “Cars of people stop, and we can see them dance to the music. Teenage girls take selfies with Mickey.”

Lilly said her husband, Joe, saw the notice about the best holiday decorated homes contest in the Troy Times and decided to enter their display.

Businesses were also recognized for holiday decorations.

The Columbia Center won the Most Festive Business Award.

Cheryl McClintock, the property manager for Kirco/Columbia Center at 201 W. Big Beaver Road, across from Troy City Hall, west of Livernois Road, said that last year, they put up close to 10,000 lights. “We added more this year,” she said, bringing the total to over 100,000 lights.

She said that crews work several days over Thanksgiving weekend to complete the display.

“Holiday decorating at the buildings along with the Christmas trees erecting, fluffing, lighting and decorating takes approximately 36 hours a tree/building to get just right with many helping hands,” she explained in an email.

Two 25-foot decorated Christmas trees adorn the lobby of the Columbia Center.

“We have an outstanding Kirco Management team here at Columbia Center who all do a fantastic job readying the Columbia Center campus for the holidays,” McClintock added.

“This was one of the special projects we had to let go when the recession hit,” Cindy Stewart, the city’s director of community affairs, said via email. “It was so popular among our residents, and we had time this year, so (we) wanted to bring back the holiday festivities.

“We put the information in the winter Troy Today and on social media and heard from a lot of people nominating their neighbors or family members. After we sent out invitations to the winners, we received so many positive comments from the winners excited to have been nominated and chosen.”