‘Illuminated’: Christmas lights set spirits aglow

Published 8:07 pm Friday, December 22, 2023

Whether it’s the sight of Santa waving from a parade float, presents under the Christmas tree or stockings filled with candy, the magic of the Christmas season is never more evident than through the eyes of a child. And it’s those fond memories from childhood that can foster family traditions.

Vicksburg resident Matt Dorbeck recalled how his parents had decorated the exterior of their home with lights – something he continues with his family.

“It’s just something I always remember from my childhood. We always decorated the house, and I’ve just kind of always wanted to carry that tradition over with my kids,” Dorbeck said. “And my wife loves Christmas Lights.”

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Therefore each year, as Clark Griswold, from National Lampoon’s “Christmas Vacation” would say, the exterior of the Dorbeck home is “illuminated.”

When Dorbeck first began decorating with Christmas lights, he bought a “special extension ladder” to aid in the installation process. But even then, he said, he didn’t feel 100 precent safe climbing up on the ladder and affixing the lights to the house.

“I don’t love getting on our giant roof,” Dorbeck said. “So, I told myself in 2020, I won’t do this again. I’m going to start paying somebody to do it.”

At this point in his career, Dorbeck said, it was more efficient for him to go to work and let an expert hang the lights.

“It kind of pays for itself because what would take me three days to do, Lee (Johnson, owner of Elks Lighting) can accomplish in half a day. And they (Elks Lighting) do a heck of a job,” he said.

The professional lighting service not only installs the lights, Dorbeck said, the service also take them down and stores them for their clients.

“And anytime a bulb goes out, they come out and replace it. There’s zero maintenance involved and every single one of those lights is attached and plugged into one outlet on a timer. So, the convenience of it is just – I don’t know – it’s just worth the money to me,” he said.

Others in the Audubon neighborhood have followed suit and have also hired the Jackson-based Christmas lighting service.

Even home-owners who haven’t hired professions get in on all the fun for Christmas. It seems the enthusiasm of decorating with exterior lighting has become contagious and nearly every home in Audubon is lit up for the holidays.

Outside of his neighborhood, Dorbeck said, he wished more people in Vicksburg would put out Christmas lights. And he wishes he knew where there were other homes that did.

“When we lived in Richmond, Va., they ran ads online and you could look up where the Christmas lights were. They would give you a list of say, 30 addresses and you could plug them in (and ride by and see them). It would be nice to have something like that here,” he said.

 The Vicksburg Post has taken to heart what Dorbeck said and is inviting locals to share on our Facebook page areas or addresses where houses are decorated with lights.





About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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