Traveling around Bergen County during the holiday season, it’s easy to find lighting displays that will bring you holiday cheer. Whether you’re on Teaneck Road in Ridgefield Park, Jefferson Avenue in Emerson, High Street in Norwood or other area thoroughfares, you’re sure to come across displays that will put a smile on your face.    

While some residents are happy to spend time and effort stringing lights or placing cutouts on their lawns, many opt for professional help to enjoy the season. Joe Soccodato of JVS Christmas Lighting in Westwood said he expanded his landscaping business 14 years ago when clients kept asking for assistance to decorate and light their homes. When meeting with residents to assess their needs and color preferences, he will propose a package that includes installation and take down of decorations and lights.

Removing the danger of inexperienced homeowners falling off a ladder is just one of the benefits. Soccodato, a self-proclaimed “chief executive elf,” noted that some homeowners opt for a three-year commitment to lock in a price that includes off-season storage. While JVS packages start at $499, he noted that some homeowners could spend as much as $10,000.

Edward Salzano has been taking advantage of JVS’ services for nine years after deciding it was becoming more difficult to do it himself. His River Vale home usually has three large wreathes on windows as well as lights that frame the house and highlight entry columns, trees and bushes. 

“The neighbors always compliment the decorations,” he said.  “It enhances the neighborhood rather than overpowering it.”

But another River Vale resident said he prefers to do his own decorations. Tony Buonomo said doing it for 20 years, he has it down to a science, starting in the summer with planning meetings that include family members wearing custom “decorating committee” sweatshirts. Though he likes to make some changes every year, their display usually includes animated figures like Santa’s elves, snowmen, and even gingerbread men on trampolines.

“I start in October, doing a little at a time until I’m finished,” he said. “I try to get creative every year.”

Jim Mink of Christmas Decor by Shining Nights, serving northern New Jersey towns, said he has seen holiday decorating evolve over 20 years in business installing lighting displays. With the advent of LED lights, more vibrant colors are available and homeowners can easily change the colors from their smartphones.

“It can be a traditional color one night, and the next day you can even change to the colors of your favorite football team,” he said.

While many people assume holiday lighting is just for Christmas, holiday lighting is popular for other celebrations such as Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, and for Chanukah when homes may display LED menorahs and dreidels in conjunction with blue and white lights. And remember, as you ride through the area, holiday decorating is not just for homeowners. It’s a bright time for retail stores, car dealerships, restaurants and even office buildings.

By Marilyn Katzman

Photos courtesy Christmas Décor by Shining Nights

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