As many know, Christmas can be the most wonderful time of the year.
One man helps spread the joy by decking his and other’s houses in elaborate Christmas light displays.
Danny Quintero is in his third year of decorating his Federal Way home for not only his family but for passers-by to enjoy.
Quintero was first introduced to Christmas lights and elaborate displays when he was younger.
“I was always surrounded by it,” he said. “Even during the toughest of times, things were lightened up by Christmas.”
His mother and stepfather would “beautifully” decorate their home each year.
“It was a perfectly balanced display,” he said.
His grandparents lived next door to Quintero when he was growing up. He said they would also have huge light displays each year.
Many of the items his grandparents used were handmade, and now he is the proud owner of many of those pieces.
He also said when he was 10 years old, his neighbors used to have him go shopping with him for lights and then he would help put them up at their homes.
Inspiring Quintero to do these elaborate displays were his mom, stepfather and grandparents, but he also got his inspiration by driving around.
There was a home in Burien, the Palermo’s, which would be decked out for Christmas.
He said it was the type of home where you got out and walked around it to see all the decorations. He said the Palermos would begin setting up their display in September.
Quintero said the home is no longer decorated after the owner died but now he has a few of his pieces from his yard. One of Quintero’s favorite decorations, candy canes that line his driveway, is from the Palermo home.
Two other staples in his yard are his reindeer and train that his grandfather made.
“Everything (in my yard) has a story,” he said. “Most are rare and antique.”
The process for preparing for his annual holiday displays begins in January — starting with sales on decorations.
He also belongs to many vintage collector clubs where members share where deals on unique decorations can be found.
Following sales and shopping around for new items, Quintero said he spends time testing lights and mapping out a plan for the next year’s display. He added, each year looks different from the one before.
Aside from his home, Quintero has been helping his mother-in-law, Anita Giorgetti, decorate her East Renton Highlands home since 2011.
He said this year from August to November, the two traded information and ideas back and forth on how the display should look this year.
With the help of his cousin, Ray Monsegur, Quintero began decorating Giorgetti’s house in early November.
However, he said her display was only turned on before Thanksgiving to test the bulbs and see how it looked.
Quintero said when he first met his mother-in-law, she had one tub of lights. The two went Black Friday shopping for decorations and lights and that first year they “went Griswold” on her house, he said.
Now every year since 2011, Giorgetti’s home is decked out for the holidays.
Apart from these two homes where Quintero sets up elaborate displays, he also helps others with their smaller-scale displays. This year, he said, he helped decorate five other homes.
Up until last year, Quintero said it was a solo job decorating.
Monsegur, who Quintero called his “right-hand man,” began helping him this year with the decorations.
Quintero has nightly visits from people driving by to take a look at his display at his house, 2237 S. 361st St., Federal Way. He said his home is at the top of a cul-de-sac and the roof of his home can be seen from below.
He said, often, he has families get out to take pictures with his display. He added, at times there are numerous children in his yard.
He feels bad for his neighbors, with all the added traffic, but he said they’re OK with it.
When it comes to next year’s display, Quintero said he has ample amounts of decorations so he probably won’t be adding many more to his display. However, he may continue to collect items.
He joked, when his family eventually moves from their Federal Way home, he will look for a home with good curb appeal for his Christmas lights display.
Quintero not only decorates the outside of his house, but he said there is a “good balance” of decorations, many his grandmother’s, inside.
His favorite indoor item is a life-size, original leg lamp from the movie, “A Christmas Story.”
“It’s cozy and traditional,” he said as he described the inside of his home.
Christmas isn’t the only holiday Quintero enjoys decorating for — he also enjoys Halloween.
With the holidays being so close to each other, he said “it takes a lot of energy” to decorate for both. Most years, he doesn’t usually decorate as much for Halloween as he did this year.
This year Quintero’s home was part of King 5 Evening Magazine’s holiday house contest.
He was one of three finalists and thanks to viewer votes, Quintero’s Federal Way home won the contest.
A first for Quintero this year is the fact that he is hosting an event this evening at his home.
From 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 22, he will be collecting donations for Mary’s Place in Seattle.
He said the goal of the evening is to raise both money and donations for the emergency shelter.
Quintero will be there dressed in his Christmas light suit and friends of his will be dressed as Santa, Mrs. Claus and the Grinch for people to take photos. A local bakery has also donated 1,000 Christmas cookies for the event.
When asked why he chose to help Mary’s Place, he said it was an organization that really resonates with him.
He said they have a campaign that focuses on no children sleeping outside, and his family has a history with single moms, substance abuse and homelessness.
“I got a real non-commercial vibe from them,” he said.
High demand items that Quintero said Mary’s Place is looking for include:
• Winter coats, all sizes for all genders;
• New underwear, all sizes for all genders;
• Twin bed blankets;
• Winter clothing and shoes for men, teenagers and boys;
• Baby formula (be sure that it is not expired) and
• Stroller covers.