For the Schultz family in Yacolt, Christmas isn’t complete without their 14-foot tall inflatable polar bear.
After putting up an estimated 15,000 lights and a yard full of decorations, the Schultz family feels at peace for the holidays any time someone stops while they walk by or slows down while driving by to look at their display.
“I think we’ve been going big since 2015. It started out doing it with some neighbors, and then just everywhere we’ve gone, it’s just gotten bigger,” Charlotte Schultz said of their Christmas display. “It brings us happiness and joy and seems like everybody that does a slow drive-by enjoys it a lot, too.”
Their 14-foot inflatable polar bear, only two feet taller than the real animal, has been their centerpiece since buying it 10 years ago.
When living in Battle Ground, the polar bear’s life was almost cut short.
“There were some vandals that had come through Battle Ground and had, I think it was a box cutter, and sliced a 32-inch gash in his belly,” Charlotte Schultz recalled. “But Toby [Schultz] and our neighbor ended up patching him and repairing him. We were sad that he was ruined. But he didn’t get ruined, he was fixed.”
After Toby, her husband, and the neighbor successfully fixed the polar bear, the Schultz family found positive light in such a negative situation around the holidays.
“That’s kind of the beauty of things like that, is being able to keep the tradition going and a lot of people would have thrown him away, but he’s too much a part of our life,” Charlotte Schultz said.
Last year was the family’s first Christmas in Yacolt, and their display won the Light Up North County competition, Charlotte Schultz said.
“It was really exciting and we felt a lot of pride for the time and effort we put into it,” she said. “Toby [Schultz] puts in so much time and effort doing the decor. I think he does more than the three of us combined, me and the kids.”
Their children, Chloe and Isaac Schultz, have become helpers with the Christmas display.
On Wednesday, Nov. 29, the Schultz family just began filling their yard with decorations. Charlotte Schultz anticipated the display to be finished by Wednesday, Dec. 6.
Despite being the reigning champions of the Light Up North County competition, the Schultz family feels like other people spend even more time than them decorating their homes with Christmas displays.
Charlotte Schultz encourages light seekers to visit the northern half of the county.
“Come out and visit, and if people are out touring the lights, don’t forget our little town of Yacolt and Amboy, as well,” she said. “We’re small, but it’s a wonderful place to be, and it’ll definitely bring the Christmas cheer to you.”
Charlotte Shultz said they still hadn’t decided whether they would enter the annual light contest again because the area had some great houses that were not entered last year.
The Schultz family Christmas display is located on East Farrer Street in Yacolt.