MILWAUKEE — Drive down 48th and Good Hope during December, you wouldn't blink twice about what you'd see. Drive down the same street in March, you might do a double-take every few houses.
It is still the most wonderful time of the year for this Milwaukee neighborhood. Christmas decorations are still up in people's yards and porches. You can see at least five houses with physical decorations on their lawns while others just have their lights up. It ranges from a few snowmen to garland-wrapped posts to reindeer.
However, none are quite like Tim Osterbeck's house.
"For me, it's about bringing joy to the neighborhood," he said.
While it's no Clark Griswold house, Tim's decorations are eye-catching. Especially in March. While all the chestnuts have been roasted over open fires and Santa Clause has already come to town, neighbors still flock to Tim's house.
"They say 'your lights are beautiful, thank you for doing this for us,'" he says.
A gang of inflatable Minions takes over one corner. Candy canes and upright-colored-lights line the front edge of his lawn. Mickey Mouse, Rudolph, Snoopy, and Woodstock guard his door.
Tim is certainly a big fan of Christmas, and he knows the best way to spread Christmas cheer is to sing loud for all to hear and decorate your house.
"Little things like this really do add value and joy and happiness in a neighborhood."
But Tim has two other reasons for leaving up his decorations. One is practical, the other rooted in tradition.
1. "Well, we just continue to have snow after snow after snow, and it's not a lot of fun taking down Christmas decorations when there’s a foot and a half of snow in the yard."
2. "A little bit of family tradition that started with my dad as long as the Packers are in the playoff, we keep lighting them on game days. And so the Packers went all the way to the NFC championship game, so that runs until later in January. So it's kind of a two-piece story here."
Which means that the Christmas decorations might come down soon as with the other neighbors.
"People in the neighborhood seem to use what I do with my lights as a barometer for when to take down or turn off their lights."
However, as a guy who still has lights up in his apartment and consistently uses a Santa-shaped jar to hold his fruits, I say keep the decorations up for as long as you can.