Forget those woefully premature decorations you started seeing in September. It is now officially the season to be jolly. And to celebrate the occasion, the area's most holiday-spirited merchants, organizations and civil servants are banding together to light up your life. Literally.
• Six-foot red and white striped candy canes and a number of equally oversized red, white and green candles with gold flames will adorn the face of Basha's beginning "this Friday or Saturday," says Bonnie Blair, the store's property manager. Spectators can check out the decorations and enough "Christmas lights to make Payson visible from the moon" at 142 E. Highway 260.
• Kohl's Ranch Lodge on East Highway 260 has been decorated with 100,000 lights, all of which will start twinkling every evening at dusk from Nov. 24 through Jan. 5. Lodge spokesperson Karen Murray promises young and old alike that the Western Village, gazebo, pet corral and the whole center of the resort will be shining brightly. Plus, there will be a s'mores pit for those young'uns who don't get enough holiday sugar at home. Bring your own chocolate, graham crackers and marshmallows, or buy 'em at the lodge for $1 a pack.
• At 7 p.m., the entire complex will glow with the luminescence of many lights, Dory said. "I don't know exactly how many. But there will be a string on every store in the Village."
But that's not all. When the choir exits the stage (or is carried off by another choir in the form of a living lumber truck), it will be replaced by none other than Santa Claus, who will be available to take children's Christmas orders and pose for photos in exchange for donations for the Payson High School basketball team.
• Coldwell Banker's two local offices will certainly be worth a drive-by and maybe even a walk-through. Owner/broker Ray Pugel has just put the finishing touches on the Pine-Strawberry office on Highway 87 in Pine, where you'll find Snowy the 15-foot snowman, plus many of his li'l snowman buddies.