Noel, Noel: Pinnells win Appeal’s Christmas lights contest |

Noel, Noel: Pinnells win Appeal’s Christmas lights contest

by Maggie O'Neill

The mixed precipitation falling in Carson City the past few days has Melody Pinnell, the first-place winner of the Nevada Appeal’s Celebration of Lights, a little curious about the behavior of her Christmas lights.

“When it rains, the circuits blow,” she said. “When it snows, they’re fine.”

Pinnell; her husband, Randy; and their 12-year-old son, Randall Jr., received a $200 Best Buy gift certificate for their win in the holiday lights challenge.

“I’ve always been fanatic about doing Halloween and Christmas,” Pinnell said. “Christmas is one of my favorites. It has just gotten crazier every year.”

The family, along with Denise Mortimer, Pinnell’s 22-year-old niece; Carlos Lopez, Mortimer’s fiance; and Michael Duncan, a son-in-law, began decorating right after Halloween.

It took about three weeks.

“We did a little at a time depending on the weather,” Pinnell said. “If I hadn’t had my roof done, I wouldn’t have been able to do it with the snow that came.”

The Pinnells first began decorating their home for Christmas in 1999, when they moved in. The two-story 2,200-square-foot house used more decorations than their previous home.

“Our first house was only 1,100 square feet,” Pinnell said. “This makes quite a difference.”

Before beginning work on lights and decorations each year, the family discusses a theme and the colors they want to use. This year’s theme “Starlight, Star bright” uses blue and green lights on the roof, tempered by white and other colored lights.

“The roof is always more difficult,” Pinnell said. “It’s pretty steep. We try to cover the whole roof, which is pretty crazy, but it looks nice.”

Pinnell’s husband, a painting contractor, is crucial to the work.

“They guys have to help,” she said. “They get up to places where me and my niece won’t go. My husband can get on a ladder and doesn’t have to think twice.”

Every year, Pinnell purchases new lights for the Christmas theme, which only adds to the previous year’s collection.

“This being my fifth year, I have every color in so many quantities. It’s unbelievable,” she said.

The family has won first-place twice in the Appeal’s contest, Pinnell said. The last time, two years ago, they received a $200 credit on their Sierra Pacific bill.

“The third time’s a charm,” Pinnell said.

The family will not participate in the contest next year so that everyone has an opportunity to win. They will decorate their home though, something that Mortimer looks forward to each year.

“This is one of my favorite parts of Christmas,” Mortimer said. “We really enjoy having people come by and look at the house. I’m really excited (about winning) because we worked really hard on it. I’m just really proud.”

The Pinnells thank everyone who voted for them and all the families who participated in the contest.

“They all did a fabulous job,” Pinnell said. “And even the houses that didn’t enter, way to go with the Christmas spirit.”

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

Support the troops

• The Pinnells have used a theme of “Support our troops” in the past. They decorated their house and yard with red, white and blue lights.

• In support of the troops overseas, Pinnell asks that community members join her in a moment of prayer at 6 p.m. today to remember the troops.

“I watch the news every day and the families that lose (people),” she said. “It’s so sad, and I’m constantly praying for them. I thought this would be a nice gesture.”

She asks that people mention the prayer time to friends, co-workers and neighbors.