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O come let us adorn them

Jackson Bell

Do-it-yourself holiday decorating is a point of pride for Brian


That’s why most of the ornaments outside of Smith’s home at 841 N.


Buena Vista St. -- from a hand-painted cutout of Santa Claus to a

homemade silver tinsel tree -- are ones that he crafted by hand.

“I like to see houses where the stuff is homemade, not where they

just put their checkbooks in their front lawn,” he said.


Smith’s house was one of four residential award winners in the

Burbank Civic Pride Committee’s 2003 Holiday Decoration Contest.

The highlight of Smith’s presentation -- selected from 39 entries

-- is the vintage 1958 fire engine parked on his driveway and adorned

with lights, presents, a Santa figure and the aforementioned silver

tree. An oversized red ball tree ornament parked in the yard is also

a crowd-pleaser, he said.

About a mile up the street, at 1822 N. Buena Vista St., Mike


Zankoski has created a winter wonderland in his frontyard featuring

dozens of seasonal figurines, more than 2,000 holiday lights and a

glowing Santa perched on the roof with his reindeer.

Zankoski said he’s decorated his home for the past eight years

because he enjoys filling neighbors and passersby with holiday


“I get a lot of responses from people yelling while waiting in

traffic,” he said. “It gives them something to look at and take their


mind off their day.”

Ellie Myer, chairwoman of the city committee that picked the

winners, said the contest is a way for the city to congratulate them

for their hard work.

“We see so many houses where the owners don’t enter, and we want

them to, because they make the city look absolutely gorgeous,” said

Myer, who encourages everyone who decorates their home next year to

enter the annual contest.

The City Council on Tuesday honored the winners, which included

Samuel’s Florist at 921 W. Olive Ave., the recipient of the

commercial award. Two additional awards were handed out in the

16-and-younger category. Ryan and Sarah Kelly won for their

decorations at 1231 N. Fairview St., and Ilona and Alexander Szabo

won for their home at 1636 N. Avon St.

Smith, a Burbank native, also encourages those who haven’t done so

in the past to participate. He says the holiday spirit is a fading

part of the city’s tradition.

“When I was a kid, we used to drive around and look at the

Christmas lights,” he said. “People don’t take the time to do that