Saturday, January 28, 2023
Jan. 28, 2023

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Clark County families make spirits bright with dazzling holiday displays

By , Columbian staff writer
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At the Buchanan home at 15309 N.E. 7th St., Vancouver, thousands of colorful lights illuminate the night sky.
At the Buchanan home at 15309 N.E. 7th St., Vancouver, thousands of colorful lights illuminate the night sky. (amanda cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

If there’s one thing we can count on, even in 2020, it’s the joy created by a festive light display. Clark County residents, sensing the need for extra cheer, have pulled out all the stops on their holiday houses. The lights are on. The plastic reindeer are hitched to Santa’s sleigh. The inflatables are fully inflated. The blow molds are glowing. Chimes are ringing and radio waves are set to carry Christmas tunes straight to your ears. One last thing is needed: you.

Get ready to receive the maximum dose of holiday spirit directly through your eyeballs at these magnificently decorated Clark County homes and neighborhoods. All displays are daily; if times or dates have been submitted, they are also noted.

• Brant Buchanan and his father, Brad, are drawing heavily on the county’s electric grid at 15309 N.E. Seventh St., Vancouver, lit from 4:30 to 10 p.m. The display features 100,000 lights, a suspended sleigh with all nine reindeer, a 35-foot candy cane on the roof, a lighted arch spanning 30 feet over the driveway with hanging mistletoe, a 20-foot-tall lighted tree, Nativity scene, toy soldiers and minitrees lining the sidewalk, a countdown timer to Christmas and 175 blow mold figurines.

• Bruce Preece’s home at 607 Palo Alto Drive, Vancouver, lit from 4:30 to 10 p.m., is a Christmas masterpiece built by hand over hundreds of hours. Preece himself has constructed a full Nativity set, a 6-foot-tall moose, a 12-foot-tall lit candle, Santa and his reindeer, ornaments and more. He raises a shining star onto his tallest tree to light the scene below. “People in the neighborhood suggested I call in and let people know,” Preece said. “It’s just a lot of fun. I enjoy decorating. I’m retired so I’ve got time to do it.”

• Marci Ashcraft’s home at 6523 N.E. 52nd St., Vancouver, lit from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m., is sporting a whimsical Christmas theme with thousands of lights, a stunning blue tree centerpiece and holiday music, which plays until 9:30 p.m.

• Ed DelSol’s residence at 14409 N.E. 31st Ave., Vancouver, lit from 4:30 to 10 p.m. daily until New Year’s Day, has a yard full of lights, including a Nativity scene, a light post playing Christmas carols, Santa and reindeer, snowmen and a 10-foot-long lighted horse-drawn carriage.

• Kaaren Spanski-Dreffin, 908 S.E. 98th Ave., Vancouver, has holiday lights as well as “Manny” the mannequin dressed as Santa. Manny will be available for photos from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Dec. 13, 19, 20, 24, 25, 26 and 27 (please wear masks and observe social distancing). Images will be posted at @908mannequin on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok.

• James Callahan’s house at 517 N.W. 90th St., Vancouver, is decorated to the nines with a classic holiday movie displayed in the front window from 5:30 to 7 p.m. nightly. “I grew up decorating with my parents in the Lincoln neighborhood,” Callahan said. He notes that his parents’ home at 5509 N.W. Lincoln Ave., Vancouver, was often featured in The Columbian’s best-decorated list and this year is no exception. “I have taken the same passion to decorating now that I have kids to share the joy with,” Callahan said. “I would love to spread the joy of lights to everyone like my parents have done for many years.”

• Rick and Renee Amies, 11001 N.E. 11th Ave., Vancouver, have lived in their home for 50 years and each year they add something new to the holiday display with help from their kids and grandkids. This year, it’s a 19-foot-tall Santa.

• The Christmas decorations at Jim Mains’ house, 4616 N.W. Franklin St., Vancouver, lit from 5 to 10 p.m. with music, are something of a local legend. Seven properties get into the act with 50,000 lights, dancing trees, a 16-figure Nativity scene with a 24-foot-tall star, a 60-foot lighted cedar tree, and 8-foot snowman and Santa with lifelike reindeer, including Rudolph. Catch the Grinch and Max filling up an old green pickup truck with lights and presents and see Olaf and the “Frozen” princesses, plus Charlie Brown and Snoopy. Santa will appear in an upstairs window along the route. See a preview at

• Matt and Fawn McKay invite everyone to see their daily light display at 15003 N.E. 83rd Circle, Vancouver.

• The Phillips family home, 3400 N.W. 119th St., Vancouver, lit from 7 to 10 p.m. through Dec. 31, has 10,000 lights synchronized to music at 89.7 FM with a singing tree and video displays. Hear “The Polar Express” medley, “The Greatest Showman,” Skrillex, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and more.

• Ben Roussel has been working since Nov. 1 on his Christmas display at 4714 N.E. 43rd St., Vancouver, lit from sunset to 10 p.m. daily and sunset Dec. 24 to sunrise Dec. 25. “We continued to put up decorations for the next two weekends despite being joked and laughed at by our closest neighbors,” Roussel said. He added still more decorations on Thanksgiving Day. Highlights include a 12-foot-tall Jack Skellington from “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

• Adam and Theresa Nelson’s home at 12508 S.E. Angus St. is a Christmas gift to the whole neighborhood, with a light show set to classical music selected by their kids, both avid French horn players. Tune your radio to 98.3 FM and prepare to be transported. “In many ways our light show is a tribute to our local schools and community for how much they support the arts, especially music,” Theresa Nelson said. “It does feel good to spread some holiday cheer in a safe way.”

• Robert Currie, 11105 N.E. 96th St., Vancouver, has lights up until early January — and he says people should be sure to see the house directly across the street, too.

• Justine King’s house at 2020 S.E. 132nd Court, Vancouver, is dressed in frosty blue with giant snowflakes, glittering icicles, sparkling deer and snowmen.

• Gretchen Bosso, 100 N.E. 102nd St., Vancouver, will have lots of lights and a full holiday display glowing from dusk until dawn, plus fire art installations from Dec. 23-26. She said this is her first year doing such a big light show.

• Brittany Hansen’s home at 9304 N.E. 93rd Place, Vancouver, is lit from 4:30 to 11 p.m. “Every year we try and do just a little bit more to make our display look a little bit better,” Hansen said. She and her family remain undaunted in their desire to spread holiday cheer, even though their decorations were vandalized two years ago. She said she wanted to quit but fixed the lights and just kept going. “My favorite part is watching the joy in people’s faces,” Hansen said. “So many families tell us they go on a walk every night with their children to see our lights.”

• Kevin Ridenour, 909 S.E. 121st Ave., Vancouver, has holiday lights a-blazing from 4:30 to 11:30 p.m. every day.

• Mike Audette said he’s been decorating his house at 8718 N.E. 77th Way, Vancouver, for 19 years His house and yard will be lit up from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and from 4:30 to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

• Scot Brantley’s whole cul-de-sac in the Salmon Creek-Felida area is in full festive swing. Start at 14427 N.W. 25th Court and be dazzled by decorations from a past Stumptown SantaCon and a Fire Arts installation from TectonicSHIFT that’s been featured at a previous PDX Winter Lights Festival. “Nearly every house will have lights up and we have added some festive yard decorations this year,” Brantley said in email. “Our hope is to bring a little joy to the end of 2020 which has been a challenging year for so many.”

• The Barker family, 12410 N.E. 152nd Ave., Brush Prairie, has a truly unique display featuring a collection of 150 glowing blow molds, a working carousel and Ferris wheel and several inflatables.

• Becca Dryer’s home at 112 S.W. Eigth St. in Battle Ground is rainbow-bright, with every color you could imagine plus a few more. And the property also features a Little Free Library for kids and families. (Please wear masks and observe social distancing if you take or leave a book.)

• Tami Congleton invites the community to see the thousands of lights at Columbia Adventist Academy, 11100 N.E. 189th St., Battle Ground, including a fully lit 85-foot-tall cedar tree.

• Angi Doherty invites everyone to see the lights at 1830 N.E. Everett St. Camas, on display until Jan. 1.

• Jennifer Binder is also making Camas bright at 19621 S.E. 26th Way, with lights up every night from 4 to 11.

• Camas is offering a self-guided tour of the city’s most festive holiday homes. Find a map at, available through Dec. 26.

• Mellisa Ramsey invites folks to drive around the “Woodland Christmas Loop” at Embassy Loop and Statesman Drive in Woodland, with lights up through Dec. 25. “Light-gazers are encouraged to bring nonperishable food items to donate to the Woodland School District’s Family and Community Resource Center,” Ramsey said. Donation bins will be placed along the route on weekends, tonight through Dec. 20. (Please wear a mask and observe social distancing.)