Masters of illumination |

Masters of illumination

by Maggie O'Neill
Appeal Staff Writer
Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal Yadira Gomez, 21, left; Luis Fuentes, 23; and Jackie Fuentes, 5, stand outside their decorated house on Tenaya Drive Tuesday. The family won the annual "Celebration of Lights" contest sponsored by the Nevada Appeal and Meeks Lumber. They received a $100 gift certificate for Meeks.

It was their 5-year-old daughter who urged Yadira Gomez and Luis Fuentes to decorate their Tenaya Drive home and yard with Christmas lights, a Santa, reindeer and a SpongeBob Square Pants.

And because of her urging, the couple is the recipient of a $100 gift certificate to Meeks Lumber, the top prize in the annual “Celebration of Lights” contest sponsored by the Nevada Appeal and Meeks.

“We didn’t really think we were going to win,” said Gomez, 21. “We went around to look at the other houses and there were pretty nice houses out there.”

But when Gomez flipped through the paper and saw the ad about the contest, her daughter said she should enter.

“She said, ‘You should do the house,’ and I said we probably should,” Gomez said. “She was pretty excited, so we did it for her.”

Starting after Thanksgiving weekend, Gomez and Fuentes began buying lights for the home. Soon they ran into trouble – not enough outlets for all the plugs.

“We had to get more outlets installed outside the house,” Gomez said. “We installed enough for all the lights.”

The couple worked until about Dec. 20.

“Jackie gave us all the ideas,” Gomez said. “She loves Christmas, and she likes all the lights and the stuff. She said ‘We need a chimney, otherwise how is Santa is going to get in? And we need a snowman and we need Santa Claus.’

“We pretty much did it because of her.”

The couple often found people driving by their home or taking pictures of their lights.

“It was pretty cool,” Gomez said. “They would honk and say it was pretty nice and that it was looking pretty good.”

Homes participating in the “Celebration of Lights” were listed in the Appeal and voters were urged to drive by the homes and vote for their favorite display.

While Fuentes said it wasn’t hard putting up all the lights at their home, at 2904 Tenaya Drive, it was nice to win for that effort.

“I was actually surprised,” he said. “We checked out some of the other houses, and they were good, but we had seen a lot of cars stop by our house.”

The couple hopes to participate again next year, and right now their sole idea for improvement it to put up more lights. But their 5-year-old has been the true judge of their success.

“She liked them,” Fuentes said.

“You should see how her face lit up when we were done,” said Gomez.

— Contact reporter Maggie O’Neill at or 881-1219.