Tingle dazzles with Christmas lights

Michael Dugan

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Nothing says Christmas like family, snow, and, for most, time off from school — unless you’re freshman Christian Tingle.
Christmas lights are a huge part of the holiday season. Whether that means putting them up in the front yard, or merely taking a minute to appreciate them as your car drives by, the lights tie the holiday season together. But to Tingle, it’s not just that. It’s now tradition.
Almost everyone at New Trier is familiar with the crazy light show at the house off of Thornwood Avenue in Wilmette, but Tingle’s house in Winnetka is just as eye-opening.
Every year, he puts together an eye-popping array of colors and patterns on his front lawn and the roof of his house. As if that weren’t enough, he programs the lights to be in sync with the music streaming on the radio at 99.9 FM.
Given that the display is jaw-dropping, it’s no surprise that the preparation is treacherous. “I started setting up in the first weekend of October,” Tingle explained.
His house is not the easiest to find, given the fact that it is tucked at the end of, appropriately named, Evergreen Lane off of Hill Road in Winnetka.
But Tingle puts forth an extraordinary amount of effort to make the experience worthwhile for the viewers he gets every day. “I took advantage of multiple long weekends to set up the lights, wire them and hook them up. I also have to work both days on the weekend, so I get my homework finished pretty early,” he continued.
To most students, breaks from school are a time to relax and do very little. Tingle loves free time to relax as much as the next student, but he also knows how to be productive during that time. “Over Thanksgiving break I was programming all of the lights,” he explained. “It was a lot of work, but the lights were running on Dec 1.”
Not only does he voluntarily decorate his own home, but he has worked on the homes of his close family friends. “I don’t do the whole display for other people, but I do set up lights for them,” he said.
Tingle’s passion was sparked from one moment in time. “When I was in 2nd grade my grandma showed me a video of a guy in Utah who used to do it,” he said. “Every Christmas I’ve asked for the equipment to do it myself. In 7th grade it finally happened.”
At the beginning, it was just something to get the ball rolling. “The difference between the first and second year was crazy,” he said, “there was a huge jump [in production].”
If you simply can’t wait to see the lights or refuse to see them in person, visit Tingle’s website (http://christmasonevergreen.com). Tingle has five videos from this year’s display as well as photos from previous years
Aside from the light display, Tingle and his family also have a Make-A-Wish donation box at the very front of the lawn. While encouraged to see the display, visitors are also encouraged to donate in any way they can to the Make-A-Wish foundation. Donations can also be made on the website listed above.

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