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Christmas lights map
A Christmas lights map can be found at the bottom of this story.
It started with a strand of icicle lights over the garage door. It really took off after a visit from an electrician.
Over the past decade, Rene Nortz's outdoor Christmas decorations have expanded to create what she jokingly calls "the Nortz Pole" on the lawn of her ranch-style home in the Ogden neighborhood.
The lights at the Nortz Pole, 8310 N.E. Pierce Drive, are on from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Brightly lit residents include snowmen, reindeer, Santas driving a crane and flying an airplane, bears, and a growing penguin population. There are two Nativity scenes, trees and a star. There are also lights in a large mimosa tree and smaller lilac tree, not to mention lights on her home.
"I've always loved the way (Christmas lights) look," she said. Growing up, "we'd always drive around and look at people's houses. It just made me happy."
Her husband, John, who works as facility plant operator at SEH America, doesn't share her enthusiasm. He'd be happy with no holiday lights, she said, but will get on the roof and use a pole to string lights in the tree.
"I'm the plant operator here," she said.
To the icicle lights she added house lights. Then she spotted an irresistible lighted polar bear and church at a pharmacy and thought they'd look cute in the yard.
When she started accumulating more outdoor decor, they had an electrician install a panel in the garage so the outdoor lights would be on a separate breaker.
She has 14 outlets outside and 75 extension cords.
They've installed security cameras, which put an end to people taking pieces from the lawn and throwing them in the street and knocking over the lighted archways.
For most of the year, some residents of the Nortz Pole live in a backyard shed that they have taken over, while others live in the garage.
Nortz starts getting lights out on Nov. 1 and begins testing everything to see what needs to be replaced.
"There are usually things that don't work," she said. Then she needs to decide on a layout. The plastic figures come with stakes, but she uses heavier tent stakes to anchor them.
"Every year I move things around," she said. Her youngest daughter, Rheanna, 12, loves penguins, and now they have 10 in their collection.
"They make really cute penguin lights and they are grouped together, it's easy to spot them," Nortz said.
Her light display stands out in her neighborhood, and she said people walking by will stop in the summer and ask her what she has planned for the following Christmas.
As for her immediate neighbors, she said she doesn't hear any negative comments.
"They either don't say anything, or they say how much they look forward to seeing them out their window," she said.
And she's not ready to cap the population of the Nortz Pole.
"The more the merrier," she said.