Voted the number one Christmas neighborhood in Johnson County for 16 straight years, Christmas Place is one of Kansas City's top Christmas light attractions. Located at 131st Place and Antioch in Overland Park, Christmas Place is a double cul-de-sac of 23 homes which turns into a winter wonderland each Thanksgiving evening, giving pleasure to the thousands who drive through each night through New Years.
We hope you will visit us this year and enjoy the magical feeling of Christmas in Christmas Place. We wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season!
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May the Love, Peace and Joy of the season be with you!
The Story of Chistmas Place
The first houses in Terrace Place were built in 1992 and became homes to 17 families that year. Of the 23 homes now in the neighborhood, five of the original owners still live here in 2013. There was a bonding between the families in 1992 that has grown since. There have been outings to Royals, Blades, T-Bones and Chiefs games, a mens’ bowling team, golf tournaments, Ladies’ nights, wine tastings, “Nosey Neighbor” parties when new residents moved in, a yearly White elephant party, impromptu “pizza on the driveway” gatherings and a pig roast. Families have even vacationed together. For many years families “ghosted” each other around Halloween and every year a neighborhood picnic takes place on Memorial Day, July 4th and/or Labor Day. Neighbors have celebrated the birth of babies, weddings and graduations, helped one another through illnesses and supported neighbors mourning the loss of a loved one.
From that first Christmas in 1992, all residents decorated the outside of their home to some extent. But after Cindy Corley moved into the neighborhood in 1994 the decorating took on a life of its own. Cindy bought tree wraps for every street tree in the neighborhood and delivered them to each house with instructions where they were to be placed and that they were to be plugged in the night after Thanksgiving. That was a big hit with the neighbors and the next year most residents put lights in the branches of the street trees. In the following years Cindy put lights in the trees and shrubs at the Terrace Place entrance and she also delivered a lighted red or green candy cane to each home with instructions to put it in front of the street tree. Cindy started the “Crystal Christmas Tree Award”. Each year the previous year’s winner of the award chooses their favorite decorated house in the neighborhood and places the award sign in that home’s front yard. In 2000 Terrace Place was listed in the Overland Park Sun’s “Magical Holiday Lights Tour”. Traffic through the neighborhood increased that year and the following year so did the decorating. Cindy and her husband Kevin moved out of the neighborhood in 2006, but still continued to be a part of Terrace Place gatherings. While living in Terrace Place Cindy fought a courageous battle with breast cancer and lost her battle in October of 2008. Neighbor Barb Perry started a tradition that year at the ladies’ annual ornament exchange. She bought an Angel decoration to honor “Cindy Our Christmas Queen”. Each year the Angel is wrapped and placed with the other unmarked decoration packages. The person who chooses the package with the Angel inside displays it in her home until the ornament exchange the following year.
Starting that first year, 1992, a neighborhood progressive dinner has been held every year, some years with as many as 42 people in attendance. Everyone who comes contributes, either hosting a portion of the evening or cooking food and helping the host families set up and clean up. The kids in the neighborhood put together luminaries that are placed along the streets and at the host family houses the night of the party. Neighbor Roberta Cecil has headed up this activity for years, collecting and storing supplies at her home and is still trying to figure out how to make weatherproof luminaries that withstand rain, snow and wind!
In 2002 Herndon Hasty, one of the neighbors, came up with the idea to rename the neighborhood “Christmas Place” during the Christmas holidays. All the neighbors contributed to the cost of “Christmas Place” signs that are placed over the Terrace Place entrance signs. Herndon puts them up the weekend after Thanksgiving and takes them down January 2nd. Since then Christmas Place has been an even bigger hit with the community, written up in the newspaper and appearing on television and various web sites.
Debbie Scott, another Terrace Place neighbor, coordinates decorating the entrance of Christmas Place and other neighbors help her put up the lights and take them down. Over the years she has had to replace entry lights that no longer worked and once again all neighbors have pitched in to help pay for them. Years when there has been a house for sale that was vacant she has seen to it that it was decorated, insuring that every house in Christmas Place would have a lighted street tree and candy cane in front of it.
In 2012, neighbor Craig Smith set up and is maintaining this web site for Christmas Place. With input and pictures from neighbors this will give you some insight into our special neighborhood and how Christmas Place has evolved.
As of 2013, a total of 54 families have lived in Terrace Place and every family has participated in and embraced the transformation from Terrace Place to Christmas Place. To us Christmas Place is more than just the lights and decorations, it’s what our neighborhood is about . . camaraderie, caring and, of course, Christmas!
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