There’s just something about packing the family in the car to drive around town looking at holiday lights that makes the season complete.
For Novi residents Jeff and Carol Seelenbinder, that season typically starts right after Halloween when the holiday decorations come out of storage and the display starts to take shape. Jeff handles the outside decorations and lights (which have numbered in excess of 50,000 in years past), while Carol oversees the inside setup complete with a theme, plenty of color and multiple trees throughout the house.
The Seelenbinder’s tradition dates back 20-plus years, drawing hundreds of visitors to their Elizabeth Lane home in Addington Park each year.
“This year is even more important for us because people cannot do anything else but get in their car and ride around,” said Carol.
With that in mind, the City has come up with a “Deck the House” campaign to encourage residents to decorate their homes for the holidays and win bragging rights for the best decorated house in Novi. They are asking that residents share a photo of their house on Facebook or Instagram no later than Dec. 20 using the hashtag #NoviLights in the caption (make sure your post is public). Five finalists will be selected, and the community will vote on social media for a winner. The winner or winners will receive a gift card to a local business.
Mayor Bob Gatt has seen some awesome displays during his 40-plus years living in Novi and expects residents to go all out in 2020. “Novi shines year-round, but I cannot wait to see all the different displays come to life over the next month,” he said.
The beauty of the Seelenbinder’s display is in its simplicity. Everything has a place and lights are not just strewn about. “I have always tried to keep it tasteful,” Jeff said. “It’s not quantity but more quality that makes it look nice.”
As for why they do it year after year, the answer is simple – for the kids.
“Over the years we always get a hand-written letter from a kid in the mailbox saying thank you for doing this or we just see the smiles on the faces of people as cars go by,” said Carol. “It makes it all worth it.”
Holiday Lights at the Farm
In keeping with the theme, MSU Tollgate Farm and Education Center is also celebrating the holidays with a lighted cruise at the farm. Guests will enjoy holiday light displays built by volunteers and businesses from Dec. 17-21 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. each night. Cost is $10 per vehicle and pre-registration is required.
For additional information and to pre-register, visit canr.msu.edu/tollgate/ events/holiday-lights
or email firstname.lastname@example.org.