Holiday spirit showing up |

Holiday spirit showing up

Susan Wood
Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune / With Christmas wreath in hand, Dan McLaughlin decorates his home on Michael Drive.

Christmas is all about tradition in more ways than one in South Lake Tahoe.

Just ask the people who have already decorated their homes and yards. Some have gone to great lengths to give their loved ones or passersby the holiday experience.

Dan McLaughlin lived up to his early season duty for his family and the neighborhood. This season brought him out in front of his home at Michael and Wyoming drives even earlier than usual.

“I walked into Kmart before Thanksgiving and saw the stuff and knew it was time,” he said, putting out a snowman, wreath, dripping lights and an outdoor tree.

“I’ve liked decorating since I was a kid in Sacramento where there was a neighborhood like this. I missed it when we moved to Carmichael,” said McLaughlin, who says he put the displays out when he was younger for his mother.

Now, it’s an elder in the neighborhood who motivates him.

He recalled a widow who said she looks forward to the display because it reminds her of her late husband.

Then, there’s the other lady of the house.

“We’re totally into the holidays,” Sue McLaughlin said, giving her husband occasional tips. “After Thanksgiving, it feels like Christmas. And people appreciate it when we do this.”

It was Juanita Perrine’s late father who got her into decorating their yard early, her husband, Corey, said.

They placed a white tree in the window in their Sierra Tract house at 2539 Knox. Lights were strung around the house.

When her father died, she picked up his zeal for Christmas decorating, he added.

Across Tahoe Keys Boulevard at 2237 Wyoming, it’s the love of Christmas for Johnny Grossi’s four children who motivated him to climb into a 130-foot tree outside his house to hang lights.

The towering tree, which can be seen off the Keys Boulevard, took eight hours to decorate. The house job occupied him for 10 hours and almost shocked him when he stood out with the electrical string while it rained.

The tree climb he made the week after Halloween gave him a few close calls.

“I almost fell,” said Grossi, who refused to let the near accident kill his spirit.

He also decided to persevere when his blow-up Grinch was stolen twice. He called the authorities and got it back damaged after the second assault on his yard.

“It’s a shame. I guess the Grinch really does steal Christmas,” he joked.

– Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at

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