The Gift of Christmas Spirit

Story by Ammie Bryant

Little inspires a spirit of Christmas joy more than cruising through neighborhoods bedecked with holiday lights while listening to the music of the season. It’s a tradition that many families hold dear and look forward to year after year. Thankfully, one neighborhood has been delivering just this kind of Christmas spirit for more than 40 years. Park View Estates will light up their annual luminaria display on Saturday, Dec. 15 and Sunday, Dec. 16 from 6 to 9 p.m.

The Park View Estates Homeowners Association was incorporated in 1976 with development of the planned community in 1977. Once a dairy farm owned by J.C. and Evelyn Rogers, the streets of Park View Estates were constructed to flow with the land. Enhanced by mature trees and two ponds, the neighborhood’s greenbelt areas add to the livability of this community throughout the year. However, it is during the holidays that Park View Estates lights up with the spirit of Christmas as a gift for all of Stillwater to enjoy.

Every year since its development, the neighborhood has provided the gift of Christmas luminaria to Stillwater. The luminaria are lighted candles placed inside a container filled with sand. Popular in New Mexico where the containers are often a paper bag, Park View Estates residents use plastic gallon-sized jugs. “Park View lines every street with Luminarias,” explained HOA Board of Directors President Doris Al-Harake. “We have 255 homes, so we have about 2,200 luminarias. Every household participates, but we have 25 block captains that ensure that all homes have luminarias and candles are lit.” Al-Harake has lived in the Park View Estates for thirty-five years, participating every year and spearheading the effort for many of those years.

“We have hardly ever canceled, rain or snow, luminarias are still lit.”

Many homes decorate with lights and inflatables throughout the traditional holiday light season. Park View Estates also holds a competition in which residents may compete with their neighbors for first, second, and third place in five categories including: Most Lights, Religious, Best All Around, Novelty Themed, and Best Use of Inflatables. Judges evaluate the displays on Friday, Dec. 14. Judges then place “winner signs” in the yards of those who placed in the competition in each category.

While some homes will be decorated throughout the month, the annual luminaria display only takes place on Saturday, Dec. 15 and Sunday, Dec. 16 from 6 to 9 p.m. Stillwater residents should plan to view the luminarias on one of these dates. In addition to the luminarias and other decorations on display, Park View Estates HOA plan to have The Grinch, Cindy Lou, and Santa available for photographs on Greenvale Court on Saturday, Dec. 15 from 7 to 9 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 16 from 6 to 8 p.m. Olive Garden is sponsoring The Grinch and Cindy Lou.