Christmas spirit: Longtime Tahoe family goes all out for holidays

Front gate of the Ledbetters.
Provided/Debbie Ledbetter

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — It’s looking a lot like Christmas at Lake Tahoe.

Local residents Kirk and Debbie Ledbetter love decorating for the holidays with Christmas being one of their biggest displays. The Ledbetter’s impressive, and abundant, decorations spread holiday joy and stand out to all those who drive past along a stretch of U.S. Highway 50. 

Christmas Decorations 1220 US Hwy 50 Glenbrook NV
Provided/Debbie Ledbetter

The Ledbetter family are not only longtime residents but original residents of the basin dating back to the 1900’s. What once was a family with a growing cattle company is now a family highly dedicated to the community. 

Debbie described their continued unchanged passion and unwavering dedication for the community in an interview with the Tribune.

“We consider ourselves doers of Tahoe, we love the community,” she said.

Kirk and Debbie have been married for 42 years, raised a family, founded the Boys and Girls Club of Lake Tahoe, and add some fun to the stretch of US-50 during major holidays with colorful decorations that light up the night. 

Kirk and Debbie Ledbetter with Santa Clause and Santa’s little helper
Ashleigh Goodwin/Tahoe Daily Tribune

Debbie told the Tribune, “Normally I have 70 (decorations) out there, right now there are 63,” and added that the seven missing blowup decorations have been set up at a cabin on their property for a special occasion. 

For the past three years the Ledbetters have invited a chosen a few children from Boys and Girls Club to experience the magic of Christmas with Santa and his elves, play games, and delight in mini Cinnabons donated by the Partridge Family at the local Cinnabon in Harvey’s. 

The Ledbetters have massive displays set up for all to enjoy on Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

“Halloween and Christmas take the most time with the quickest turnaround of Thanksgiving between,” Debbie said. “Christmas takes two full days. We have to do it in between storms. We took down Thanksgiving on Monday and Tuesday started putting up Christmas so we only had two days to get as much Christmas up as we could.”

Christmas Decorations 1220 US Hwy 50 Glenbrook NV
Provided/Debbie Ledbetter

There is a whole room dedicated to repairs. Debbie said “During the snow storms the decorations are collapsed to avoid causing damage. They’re all set up on breakers so that at a moment’s notice they can be let down.”

After four feet of snow dumped on the deflated decor, staff worked tirelessly to bring back the magic of Christmas and plow areas for passers-by to park and take photos. 

The Ledbetters expressed sincere gratitude for the little elves that keep everything going.

Debbie said, “We couldn’t do this without our employees. Special thanks to Mrs. and Mr. Clause.” 

Grab some hot cocoa and cruise by the Glenbrook home, then follow the map for the 3d annual Trail of Lights to see the Christmas lights decking the walls of neighborhoods in South Lake Tahoe.

A link to this year’s Trail of Lights map can be found at

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