Some people bemoan the woeful amounts of daylight this time of year. But for Steven and Susan Hurst of Thurston County, afternoon sunsets mean more time to brighten their neighborhood with a huge display of Christmas lights and other seasonal decorations.
“We add a little more every year,” said Steven Hurst. “This year, we added stars in the sky and we upgraded to a lot of LEDs.”
The couple’s home at 3747 107th Ave. S.W. is part of The Olympian’s Tour of Lights, a reader-nominated online guide to some of the largest, brightest and most festive outdoor holiday displays throughout South Sound.
The Hursts’ display, which can be viewed from dusk until 9:30 p.m. on weekdays and dusk until 11 p.m. on weekends, was nominated by their friend JoAnn Collins.
“All of the decorations are truly showing the meaning of Christmas,” said Collins, 75, of Tumwater.
The Hursts invite guests to park their vehicles and walk through their display, which meanders through landscaping with several ponds and gardens. They use Christmas lights to create a chapel, a large American flag, and several other scenes with animal figurines and other decorations.
“It’s very festive,” said Susan Hurst. “It looks like a little Disneyland.”
The couple began decorating their home with Christmas lights about eight years ago.
“We have 17 grandchildren, and we want to make their visits special,” Steven Hurst said. “We wanted the ‘wow factor’ when they turned the corner.”
Three years ago, at the urging of some of their regular visitors, Susan Hurst opened a Christmas shop on their property, stocked with homemade gift items that are available for purchase. The shop features her crafts and the handiwork of six other women.
“I have a lot of people come from all over, which is really a blessing for us,” Susan Hurst said.
The colossal display takes quite a bit of planning and preparation. Steven Hurst, who is a carpenter, usually begins setting up the lights and scenes at the beginning of November. His brother, Randy Hurst, lives on the same property and also helps with the decorations.
“It’s a family thing,” Steven Hurst said.
It usually takes about six weeks to hang all of the lights and other decorations.
In addition to the various scenes – which are given names such as “Bugsville,” “Snowman Park” and “Penguin Playground” – the Hursts also adorn 16 antique street lights on their property with garlands, bells and other old-fashioned decorations.
“It is not work for me,” Steven Hurst said. “I have so much joy when I’m putting them up. For some reason, I’m just energized.”
In recent years, the home has become a popular stop for tour buses, church groups and South Sound residents who are looking for some Christmas cheer.
And in an effort to spread the goodwill, the Hursts invite visitors to bring cash or food donations for the Olympia Union Gospel Mission.
The display typically raises several hundred dollars for the charity, according to Susan Hurst.