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Canyon County community gets in the holiday spirit

From Christmas tree lightings to decorating homes for the holiday, people in Canyon County are getting ready to celebrate Christmas with their community.

CANYON COUNTY, Idaho — It's the weekend after Thanksgiving and many have shifted into the Christmas spirit with lighting up Christmas trees and decorating their homes. 

"This year we are back to the streets being filled to the block and it is so neat to be together again," said City of Nampa Mayor Debbie Kling.

The City of Nampa hosted its annual Christmas tree lighting Saturday night, where people across the Treasure Valley took a trip to downtown Nampa to witness the tree being lit up.

Mayor Kling helped spread some of the Christmas spirit to Idahoans at the lighting, where guests performed songs, people took pictures in front of the tree and community members even got a chance to meet Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus, who arrived via Nampa firetruck.

Last year, the annual Christmas tree lighting was held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so seeing the faces of the community again was special for Kling.

"It's such a fun community gathering and I love it," Mayor Kling said. "It's so neat to have the community come together and kick off the Christmas season here in Nampa

This year's tree is a 48 and a half foot-tall and 30-foot-wide Colorado blue spruce being donated by Mike and Bobbi Burnum. City of Nampa director of communications Amy Bowman said in January the tree will be made into mulch for use in the city's parks and trail system for the 2022 summer.

But it's not just cities and large organizations that are getting into the spirit of the Christmas season with decorations, community members are working on their own homes

The Shafer family of Caldwell spent this weekend putting the final touches on their Christmas light display. They had been decorating their homes for years, but it wasn't until 15-year-old Riley Shafer stumbled upon her dad's, Daniel, Light-O-Rama control board when they came up with the idea to put on a light show.

"We had already had a bunch of Christmas lights that we had bought off clearance after the holidays and we just put those up," Daniel Shafer explained. 

The Shafer family didn't think much of it until neighbors and community members told them how much they appreciated seeing their lights and home. 

"It's kind of cool putting on something people enjoy," Daniel Shafer said. "The first time I saw a Christmas light show was in Boise." 

Their lights are also synchronized to various songs.

The positive reaction is what's pushing the family to go even bigger this year. Daniel Shafer said he's been planning this year's show since last year. They have more lights along the roof, on the trees, and in the bushes, they have added a light-up arch on the walkway and more.

"This year I think we spent close to $1,000 on new stuff, but that's because we had saved for it and a lot of it we reuse and we go after Christmas and get the deals," Jackie Shafer said.

The Shafers call it a hobby in that once you start, you can't stop. They've already got ideas for what Christmas 2022 could look like. 

"I want to go as bright as possible. I'm sure our neighbors will love that," Daniel Shafer laughed.

While it is nice to do something for the community during the holidays, the Caldwell family said more than that.

"For me, it's not about the Christmas decorations, it's about doing this with my family because it's really fun," Riley Shafer said.

The Shafer Family Christmas Lights will begin on Dec. 1 and run until Jan. 5. The lights will go from 6 -11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 6 p.m. - 12 a.m. Friday and Saturday. They're located at 1317 Arlington Ave in Caldwell.

Their home is one of the dozens featured on the Bosie Christmas Lights map that showcases holiday displays all over the Treasure Valley.

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