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Rural DL man loves his lights

If anyone is looking for Santa and his reindeer, they're hovering over Gary and Karen Klueneberg's house. Along with a few friends.

Every year for the last 20 years, Gary Klueneberg has been adding Christmas lights and figurines inside and outside his house.

"Karen takes everything off the walls and puts up Christmas," Gary said of his wife.

Inside, the Kluenebergs have a village set up in the corner of their living room. It's no small, ordinary village though. There are figures sledding and skiing, chimneys that smoke, and pine trees that blink with lights.

The living room also houses a fully decorated Christmas tree. But it doesn't stop there. In a smaller room off the living room, there is another sitting area with another, smaller village and Christmas tree decorating the room.

The village is Klueneberg's favorite part of his decorations, he said. If he dedicates one full day, he can set up the entire village at once.

But the indoors are nothing compared to the outdoors. Coming down the hill on County Road 15, near Lake Eunice, the lights can be seen from a distance. A star shines over the nativity scene, lights line the driveway, about 50 trees are lit up, Santa flies through the sky, and Santa's workshop is located around the patio furniture.

And, to top it all off, Christmas music fills the air.

"I was on eBay and found wireless speakers," he said. "That's why there's Christmas music playing."

Klueneberg said the electric bill "jumps a couple hundred bucks a month" from his displays. But, he says, it's worth it.

The Kluenebergs start checking the Christmas lights in October to replace the burned out ones from year to year. Klueneberg said they replaced about 900 bulbs this year alone.

Klueneberg puts out the lights every fall and takes them down every spring, unless there's an unseasonably warm January. He rolls and stores the strings of lights on wooden spools, and has a shed dedicated to outdoor Christmas decorations alone.

When Klueneberg started decorating the yard, the pine trees were just seedlings, he said. Now a bit taller, he uses a 6-foot stick to place the bulbs just so.

Santa and his reindeer are hoisted in the air on a pulley system with his tractor.

He displays the lights from Thanksgiving to mid-January, and he encourages passersby to drive in and take a look at the lights. With plenty of room to turn around in the driveway, Klueneberg said he has had a couple cars in the yard at once, and up to 25 cars checking out the lights a night.

Klueneberg said on warm nights, he likes to just walk around the yard and look at the lights. Luckily, he's had plenty of nights so far this season to enjoy those outdoor lights.

"You can always tell, there's more lights when it's nice (weather)," he said.

Klueneberg has his lights on timers, and the outdoor lights begin coming on at 5:30 p.m. and stay on until 11:30.