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NNSL Photo

Annie Ringuette and Jerome LeBlanc love Christmas so much they don't care that their electricity bill has doubled because of their decorations. - Lisa Scott/NNSL photo

Friendly Christmas competition

Lisa Scott
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 24/03) - On a downtown side street, one set of lights led to another, until two sets of friends found themselves in a friendly Christmas competition.

Jerome LeBlanc and Annie Ringuette started decorating their 52nd Street apartment balcony as soon as Halloween was over.

Their neighbours, Sharon and Earl Lambert, were ready and waiting with their Santa statue to start their Christmas decor.

"It seems like every time we put something up, they put something up," says LeBlanc.

The couple had soon tallied 1,877 lights among their collection.

Lambert says Ring-uette, a close friend, spurred the friendly race on by goading her each time a new ornament or light strand adorned their Lundstrom Terrace balcony.

"I wanted something big, but I didn't expect something this big," says LeBlanc.

Both sets of friends are facing a doubled electricity bill for December with their spirited efforts, but that doesn't bother them.

"It's worth it. It's Christmas," says LeBlanc.

"I don't mind the extra cost. I can't seem to do enough (decorating) between home, my office and my church," says Lambert.

The pay-off comes when drivers stop their cars to admire the two balconies, which light up the entire apartment complex.

Lambert says people have stopped her husband while he was shovelling snow to comment on the lights and ornaments.

LeBlanc has even had offers to decorate other people's houses.

Both couples hope their show of seasonal spirit gets their neighbours in the mood.

"We wish more people in the building would get involved," he says.

Neither couple are content with just a balcony.

Both apartments have sparkling interior trees put up, with presents already wrapped under the tree. Ringuette has even stuffed her Christmas stockings hanging on the wall.

Along with flickering and colourful lights, the balconies feature: a plastic Santa and Mrs. Claus, giant candles, an angel with flapping wings, reindeer, and a nativity scene.

Ringuette and Lambert have since moved on to the next level of competition -- Christmas baking.