Four Elmwood Park residents win awards for best holiday-decorated homes
Lisa Joyce, who lives on 73rd Court, is one of the winners of Elmwood Park's Christmas House Decorating Contest. She spent seven weeks decorating her home. Photo by David Pollard
Updated: February 25, 2013 6:17AM
ELMWOOD PARK — The holiday spirit could be seen on many houses earlier this winter, but a few residents were recently recognized for their decorating efforts.
Lisa Joyce, who lives on 73rd Court, was one of four homeowners who won Elmwood Park’s House Decorating Contest. Every year, the village picks two homes on the north side of town and two on the south side.
Joyce’s ranch-style house, which sits on a corner at the end of the street, attracted a lot of attention because it was decorated from top to bottom. There was a full Nativity scene in the yard, a sleigh featuring a Santa Claus figure and reindeer packed the yard as well.
There also were large gold-lighted snowflakes along the roof and backyard fence, lighted large candy canes, two large lighted snowmen and much more. Joyce said it took her seven weeks to put up all the decorations.
She was able to get some help though from her parents, Martin and Melody Joyce, who live in Elmwood Park as well. Her parents received the award in 1995, and instead of decorating their home this year, they brought their decorations over to their daughter’s home.
“We combined our efforts and decorated,” she said. “So they provided a lot of the vintage plastic ornaments.”
Even after it was all complete, Joyce said she wasn’t expecting to win. It was all about highlighting the holiday spirit, she said.
“Christmas is a very special time for me,” she said. “My grandparents were very, very into Christmas. They put up six to seven trees in the house.”
“I wanted to recreate that because growing up it was something that I never forgot,” she said. “It was also really rewarding because people would see me out there for several weeks and they saw what I added.”
She said neighbors kept tabs on the new decorations and often shared compliments. Then she received even more attention from drivers, who slowed down to take in the view.
“When I’d take my dog out for a walk I’d see traffic that would be very backed up,” she said. “Some people would knock on the door and ask if they could take some pictures.”
Elmwood Park Police Sgt. Bob Klisz, who oversees the department’s evening shift, was one of the contest judges. During the month leading up to Christmas, officers during his shift would note what houses were decorated the best. Klisz said the effort also served another purpose: making officers slow down on patrol to see what’s going on.
He said there’s no criteria for who gets picked.
“It’s whatever looks nice,” he said. “We try to mix it up.”
He credited Lisa Joyce for doing a good job.
“She had a lot of different stuff out there,” he said. “They did a nice job and spent a lot of time and did a lot of work.”
Joyce, along with the other winners, will receive an award for their accomplishment at the first Elmwood Park Village Board meeting in February. Each winner receives a sign that they can place in their yard showing their house won the contest. They also earned a gift certificate to a local restaurant.
Elmwood Park Village Clerk Elsie Sutter also took part in the judging process. Her job was to make sure the same houses don’t win every year. Sutter said she admires all of the winners’ hard work.
“I thought (Joyce) did an outstanding job,” she said. “I really noticed it at night.”
Joyce has since removed all the decorations from her home, but is already in anticipation for next Christmas season. She plans to keep decorating her home, even if she can’t win in consecutive years.
“It’s something I look forward to doing next year,” she said. “It was worthwhile just to do this for everyone to enjoy the spirit of Christmas like I do.”
The other winners include the Ciccio residence on Cortland Parkway, the Redmond residence on North 75th Avenue, and the Kerner residence on North 75th Avenue. The winners of the best decorated blocks were on 1800 block of 72nd Court and 2800 block of 76th Court.