HANSON — This year residents appear to be decorating their yards and homes earlier in the milder days of November — with colorful lights, tied pine wreaths with red bows and oversized ornaments hanging in trees — to create an aura of hope and holiday joy.
Instead of Black Friday shopping last week, several families were lining their yards with pre-lit holiday inflatable characters, setting up oversized reindeer and even an antique carriage with holiday floral.
In Hanson, Jan Pompeo had wrapped up Thanksgiving dinner and was hanging lights by Friday morning to start celebrating Christmas with her grandchildren.
“They are my life – all the therapy I need,” she laughed as she hugged a grandson. The pair enjoyed their time as they un-knotted a small set of white lights.
Her 14-year-old grandson Sam Pompeo of Whitman was doing the climbing as he hung the strands of lights from her arbor way; a giant, pre-lit, golden, wicker deer glistened at the front doorway.
Spending time decorating with his grandmother was a way of making memories, he said.
Sam had anticipated a Thanksgiving holiday and the upcoming Christmas season as still one full of excitement and he wasn’t feeling as though he missed out on anything given the CDC requirements for smaller gatherings.
Al and his son Michael Di Carlo who live on Indian Head Street decorate each year with inflatables spread out to create a splattering of colored lights across their yard they wave as they hear honks on their busy street.
Michael, who is a sophomore at Whitman-Hanson and works at Shaw’s in Hanson, enjoys social interaction and creating a Christmas vibe. His large, extended family of several generations normally gather for both traditional turkey and authentic Italian foods but this year was a smaller gathering non-the-less with great food.
“We keep spirit strong for the holidays,” said Michael, who agreed with his father it was time to flip the power on to blow up Frosty the Snowman. They shook out the plastic characters as they bloated themselves upright. He says like his grandfather he will accept the torch to carry on the holiday decorating tradition something he is proud to do.
At the other end of town off King Street The Holiday House of Hanson on 16 Woodbrook Lane is getting prepared to host its Second Annual Scavenger Hunt to benefit the Hanson Food Pantry.
Owners Tim and Kimberly Young moved here in 1998. Their teenagers have grown up with the decorating, assisting and adding to the collections.
Each year the ornaments and inflatables have multiplied and increased in scale.
“Just come by… it will lift your spirit,” said Tim, who has dreamed up the yard design for just that purpose. “It is creating happiness, which is much needed at this time.
“I have always loved Christmas and that is how it started,” Tim said of his passion for the cheery collectables. He has kept his original collection of over 20 years ago the pieces are nostalgic amidst the newest characters of trolls, gingerbread men, nutcrackers and lots of Disney characters to list a few.
Young has favorite a T-shirts (his holiday attire) including one from from the iconic National Lampoons Christmas Vacation with the Griswolds.
Over the years they’ve received enormous feedback from families who stop, photograph, and walk the sidewalk to get a look at the collectables many whom return each year.
A family from Hanover who lives on King Street stopped to say thank you and hello as they walked the sidewalk.
“This is so much fun and we came last year said the Ingle family who brought their 4-year-old Kaylee Ingle who was happiest to see the Trolls in the front yard.
The Young’s have a collection box, a letter to Santa mailbox (they are good friends with the guy in the big red suit) and as of last year were able to donate $900 raised through collected donations to the Hanson Food Pantry.
They also have four tubs of food prepared so far this fall, which they began to assemble for the food pantry during their Halloween light show.
As for a total tally of holiday inflatables Young would not create a spoiler alert because that is one of the questions on the upcoming scavenger hunt Dec. 12 and 13. The event is limited due to social distancing and participants need to fill out a form through their Facebook page to make an appointed time of arrival for the event. The details are listed on their page along with recent donations given to the food pantry.
Chris Cameron Director of Hanson Food Pantry was thrilled to hear of the upcoming event to benefit their program.
“The community support in Hanson is just amazing we are blessed to have so many caring people,” she said
The Pantry averages serving 100 families monthly and in compliance with the State regulations for COVID-19 they are using a drive up distribution.
“We are so blessed with donations,” Cameron said. “We are well stocked and work with the Greater Boston Food Bank, Target of Hanover and Shaw’s in Hanson.”
The Hanson Shaw’s location is currently hosting Turkey Bucks, which is to alleviate food insecurities via the food bank. Shaw’s regional headquarters has also given grants to the Hanson Food Pantry, according to Cameron. The drive-up distribution hours are Tuesday’s from 10 a.m. to noon and from 6 to 8 p.m.
Scavenger Hunt guests are asked to donate $10 that will go to the pantry.
Information can be found on the Facebook page The Holiday House of Hanson.
Guests can listen to Christmas music on radio station 105.3 as they watch the lights outside the home.
Weather such as high winds can affect the nightly viewing and the Young’s post on their Facebook page if there are any changes to create the best viewing possible for guests.