The entries in our December “Winter Wonderland Home Décor” competition on RhodyBeat.com twinkled, glittered and sparkled. All of the homes were decked to the max, and our guest judges had the tough job of picking only one to be crowned “Best Decorated 2011.”
Howard Rowland, Everett Lewis and Frank Picozzi, the men behind Warwick’s three musical light shows, deliberated over all of the entries, but ultimately chose “2011 Christmas Display” at 130 Beach Avenue, submitted by Raymond Moniz, as the winner.
“The Santa on the roof was a great touch,” said Rowland. “And they took nice pictures.”
Picozzi has been a fan of this display, which he’s seen in person, well before the RhodyBeat competition.
“I really liked all the displays and the top two were a hard choice,” said Picozzi. “The one I chose I have actually been by to see many times. It is exactly the type of Christmas display I love. It has the right combination of lights, inflatables and blowmolds [the plastic light-up Santa and snowmen] that I really like. I'm sure that kids love this display.”
Moniz found out that his display won top honors last Thursday, and he said it “made his day.”
Moniz is a crane operator by day, and with the strong winds of last week, he came home feeling very stressed. That was until his wife, Shawne, showed him the e-mail notifying him of his win.
“It took my bad mojo away,” he said.
Moniz has been decorating his home on Beach Avenue for seven years.
“It started with a string of lights and one Santa,” he said.
Shawne told her husband that their Santa looked “lonely,” so Moniz went out and bought a snowman to keep him company on the lawn.
“It exploded after that,” said Moniz of his display.
Moniz picks things up at yard sales and at post-Christmas sales, operating his display on a tight budget.
Despite his financial restrictions, Moniz managed to boast nearly 10,000 lights this year, accompanied by 16 inflatables and 12 plastic figures.
Moniz starts decorating his home soon after Halloween and hits the switch on his lights the day after Thanksgiving. Each day after work, he heads out to the yard to work for two hours. On the weekend, he puts in 12-hour days. After four weeks, the display is ready to go.
“My favorite part is the result: getting the traffic in front of the house,” he said. “The greatest kick, though, is the kids; someone else getting to enjoy what I did.”
Moniz began his Christmas display for the enjoyment of his own children. Now his son Joshua, 10, helps him set up and break down the display. His younger son William, 4, insists he be walked around the yard each night to see each inflatable snowman and Santa Claus.
Despite his years of practice and his impressive display, Moniz was apprehensive about entering the RhodyBeat competition.
“There are better displays on there,” he thought when he saw the other entries.
The competition was steep: the “Conway Christmas Light Display” came in a very close second, losing out by only one point. But the judges ultimately ruled Moniz’s the best.
Moniz admits that he doesn’t craft the display all by himself, and gives credit to his family members for their input.
“I am the physical erecter of the display, but my wife is the coach that calls the game plan,” he said.
He also expressed gratitude to his neighbors for putting up with the lights, music and traffic the display draws.
“My neighbors are very, very good,” he said.
Moniz took down his display on New Year’s Day, as he does every year, but he promises next year’s display will be bigger and better.
“I’m going to put a message board on the roof,” he said. “It will say things like ‘Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year.’”
He’s also purchased three more inflatables, and is looking forward to incorporating his newest decoration: a lawn sign declaring him “RhodyBeat’s Best Decorated 2011.”
Visit RhodyBeat.com/contests to see all of the entries, and keep your eyes open for our next competition!