RAPID CITY, S.D. – As holiday decorations pop up throughout our neighborhoods, our spirits become a little brighter. For the Briggs family in Rapid City, getting ready to spread holiday cheer begins very early in the year. It is obvious walking through the almost two acres of land at family’s home that Christmas is a big holiday for their household. From every angle of the home, decorative lights, reindeers, candy canes, and even R2-D2 can be spotted. What may not be as evident walking along the festive ground is just how much time it takes Kristine, the matriarch of the family, to put it all together.
“I start the year before, when everything goes on sale. I start looking for what I need to replace,” said Kristine Briggs, who is actively working to substitute her incandescent lights for LED ones.
This year she began putting up her decorations in October, when the weather was still in the seventies. Everyday for at least 2 to 3 hours, Kristine chipped away at the Herculean task, doing most of it alone. Having lived in her current neighborhood for 5 years, she says she has observed more of her neighbors putting up lights.
“I think more people – because of this year – are really wanting to do something outside, something pretty, and you just get joy out of looking at Christmas lights.”
The Briggs family have an annual light ceremony on Thanksgiving day, where Kristine does a big reveal for her family to show the final product. Relatives are invited to partake in the celebration virtually. She says she enjoys watching cars stop in front of her house to take in all the lights and décor.
“It’s a lot of work, but I love doing it and I’m glad it brings joy to every other person who drives by and sees my lights because it is fun and it’s a lot.”
As far as the cost to have such a light display? Kristine says she is grateful for a supportive husband.
“I have no idea. I don’t pay that bill so I don’t know what it costs, but my husband works for Black Hills Corp and we do not get a discount. He still pays the bill and he doesn’t say anything about it so it must not be that bad.”
The Briggs family light display has been part of the Tour of Lights since they were nominated for it a few years back. Kristine’s dream is to own a cherry picker to decorate the trees she cannot reach with her 8-foot ladder and handy light pole.