Coaches create Christmas cheer

Coaches contribute to holiday festivities by creating light and decoration displays in front of their houses


Reagan Zuniga

IN FRONT OF HIS DISPLAY: Baseball coach Sam Degelia poses with his light display in front of his house. Degelia spent six days getting out, setting up all the decorations, and syncing them up with music. “My favorite part of the decorations are when we put music to the lights and watch them move to whatever song is playing,” Degelia said. “The LED lights are really colorful and bright. So these stand out from some of the other lights.”

Reagan Zuniga, Photo Essay Editor

Health and baseball coach Sam Degelia and football coach Sam Miller bring holiday festivities to another level with their outdoor house ornaments.

Over Thanksgiving break the coaches decorated their houses with holiday decorations and lights synced up to holiday music.

“Overall, it’s about 20-25 hours of work each year because I do most by myself,” Miller said. “I spend about four hours or more a day during the week of Thanksgiving break to get it all up.  This year was difficult because we were still playing football and so I was having to coach part of the day too.”

Degelia was quarantined over Thanksgiving break due to COVID-19 precautions and he thought it was the perfect time to set up his decorations to offer something positive in the midst of the pandemic.

“My favorite part about decorating is when I am done,” Degelia said. “Then I can see all of the cars that drive by and stop in hopes that it puts them in a festive mood.”

Degelia has been decorating his house for the past 27 years and he has yet to put out all of the holiday decorations he owns because of the limited space in his yard. He even lets some of his neighbors borrow some of the decorations he isn’t using this year.

“I always decorate because it puts me in a great mood for the holiday,” Degelia said. “I always add one new decoration each year for the past 17 years as well as replacing old or broken ones.”

A few years ago, Degelia decided to upgrade his light display by adding holiday music that syncs up to the lights.

“We purchased a Bluetooth music box with receivers to hook up whatever lights you want to,” Degelia said. “So we pick and choose what lights we want to blink with the music. We play Sirius/Radio from our tablet for the sound and use an app to connect to the music box.”

While both coaches Degelia and Miller both go all out for the holidays they don’t consider it a competition and both do it out of tradition for the holidays. Miller has been decorating for Christmas since he was a very young and would help his grandfather.

“I would visit my grandfather, who decorated both the inside and outside of his house and help him set up the decorations,” Miller said. “He lived in Florida and I would have to decorate palm trees and help him move a life size sleigh that Santa would sit in and take pictures for people in his neighborhood.”

Miller decorates his house with hopes that the kids in his neighborhood will see them and that it will put a smile on their face. He hopes his neighbors enjoy his displays and join in by lighting up their houses as well.

“A lot of people in our neighborhood know my dad for going all out on decorations,” his son Brody Miller said. “He won the neighborhood Halloween contest this year and used the gift card he won to buy even more Christmas lights.”

Although he enjoys decorating greatly, it’s not coach Miller’s favorite activity to do during the holidays.

“My favorite thing to do during the holidays is to take my daughter on drives to look at other light displays and drink hot chocolate,” Miller said. “She’s a big Christmas fan like me.”