Stanley says he keeps going because of the feedback he receives from charmed visitors.
"They say, 'I never thought you could outdo last year, but you did!'" Stanley said one holiday season. "It just keeps growing. Each year I try to make it different. It just keeps growing."
Stanley credits www.lightsofthevalley.com for much of the increased traffic. This year he has notes on the site about his current decorations:
"Virtually every space of lawn, house walls and roof have something on them that lights, flashes or blinks, rotates, twirls, etc. You have to see it to believe it!"
This year the display features lots of snow, he notes. Lights will be on Dec. 15-28 in good weather, and the lights will be on, rain or shine, Dec. 24 and 25.
Widmer World (aka Bob's World Two) at 3671 Chelsea Court is another "must see," according to the website. It's been running for 34 years, with 90% of the displays in the back yard. Folks are encouraged to park their cars and check it out.
Susan Widmer says her family has been putting together the display for more than 30 years and the homemade displays now cover their entire 1-acre lot.
"It's a way for our family to give back to other families and make their holiday memorable," Widmer said.
New this year is a side access arch, wider rear walk and more windows. Visitors are under a canopy for the first 120 feet of the tour.
Sandee and Malcolm McNeil have been decorating their home at 1279 Hearst Drive for more than 30 years, both inside and out. Each year they hold a party for the neighbors so everyone can enjoy their inside decorations, which include a display of festive nutcrackers, Christmas trees and Santas.
They have added a lot of new things this year, including more reindeer and a Santa's sleigh.
These three homes and more are listed at www.lightsofthevalley.com. Alex Dourov, a Livermore resident, started the website in 1999 as a go-to guide of the best decorated homes in the Tri-Valley. It now includes much of the Bay Area and Northern California but its entries for Pleasanton and the Tri-Valley remain a valuable resource.
Dourov spends a lot of time on the website -- along with volunteer elves -- and his motivation echoes that of Santa Bob.
"It's about making people smile," Dourov said. "Not only the children, but also the adults."
Light up your life
Following are addresses of special holiday displays in Pleasanton on the website as of Dec. 5:
* 2612 Calle Reynoso
* 3671 Chelsea Court
* 1279 Hearst Drive
* 2283 Sea Eagle Court
* 2793 Calle Alegre
* 2805 Tudor Court
* 3679 Hawaii Court S
* 4148 Walnut Drive
* 6855 Singletree Court
* 802 Gray Fox Circle
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