Track the best Christmas lights in Sask. through local family's website

·2 min read
A Regina home all decked out for Christmas on last year's sparkle tour. (Sparkle Tour - image credit)
A Regina home all decked out for Christmas on last year's sparkle tour. (Sparkle Tour - image credit)

For the past 10 years Ian Gorrill has made a list — and possibly checked it twice — to find out which homes have the best Christmas light displays in Regina.

While maybe he can't teach people everything he knows about exterior illumination, Gorrill is able to share his favourite homes decked out for the holidays on his website, Sparkle Tour, and Facebook page.

"It's our Christmas gift to the people of Saskatchewan, the people of Canada," Gorrill told CBC's The Morning Edition.

"Some are looking for these types of activities that don't cost a lot of money. They really only cost a little bit of gas and some hot chocolate money."

The Sparkle Tour list first started a decade ago when Gorrill and his young children would drive around the city looking for the best, over-the-top Christmas light displays.

At the time, it was a guessing game and there was no greatest hits list, Christmas lights edition, for families to consult.

"So [we] started a list of our own and made a fairly crude map, shared it out with some friends," Gorrill said.

That list has steadily grown and now includes up to 500 homes each year not just in Regina, but in communities across Saskatchewan and Canada.

Gorrill said he spends up to an hour each day updating the website and Facebook page with new submissions and old favourites.

And if the homeowner has gone all out — Clark Griswold-style from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation— their home gets marked with a gold star.

"They typically stand out to us as something that is above and beyond what could be expected of most normal humans to put up."

For Gorrill, light displays synchronized with music will likely earn a coveted gold star.

"I'm a big fan of anything that's integrated with technology," Gorrill said.

His wife prefers a more traditional display, as long as all the little lights are, twinkling, one presumes.

Sparkle Tour
Sparkle Tour

Gorrill said his family starts from scratch each year adding each submission as it comes in and never presuming that old standbys are decorated unless they know for sure.

"Even though it's our 10-year anniversary, it's basically our 10-month anniversary."

Gorrill said the website has become his family's new tradition.

Now, instead of piling into the car to look at all the light displays, his children want to help compile the list for other families to enjoy.

"I don't think my daughter would let me quit. She's not as much about going on the tours. She's still pretty proud of the fact [sparkle tour] is something we do."

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