11/28/14 8:25am
11/28/2014 8:25 AM

Picture an entire street decorated as a winter wonderland. Now imagine dozens of them.

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO

This was something I witnessed as an editor at a local newspaper in Santa Clarita, Calif., where the paper hosted an annual Holiday Lights Tour. Individual houses and streets would be evaluated each year by a team of judges from the newspaper staff. We’d determine which were the best, award them prizes and publish a list of the top holiday houses in the valley so our readers could go see them firsthand.

The contest eventually grew so large that the judges were all chauffeured in a limousine, touring the houses for more than eight hours. We’d be greeted with bribes — we actually gave out a prize for best bribe — of food, drinks and trinkets from the contestants. I still have the Homer Simpson-talking Santa figure a producer on “The Simpsons” gave me in hopes I’d choose his house. Though I ultimately voted for the house that fed us the killer tortilla soup.

For the past several winters, we’ve toyed with the idea of bringing such a contest to the North Fork and encouraging each of our readers to find their inner Clark Griswold as we seek to identify the best-decorated house.

This year we’re giving it a try.

We’re going to start out small, by picking one winning house and a handful of honorable mentions.

To participate, you’ll need to fill out the form in the ‘At Home’ section of this week’s paper or email us (gparpan@timesreview.com) the relevant information.KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO

You will also need to be home on the evening of Sunday, Dec. 14, when our judges will make the rounds to decide which home is the best decorated. We will call all contestants several days before our visit to let you know an approximate time we’ll stop by.

We will judge your home based on style and taste, the difficulty of setting up the decorations and the uniqueness of your display.

We will consider interiors, exteriors or both.

The winning houses will be featured on our real estate page in the Dec. 18 issue, and the grand winner will get the perfect gift for homeowners who want to improve their houses even more for next year’s contest: a $1,000 gift certificate to Riverhead Building Supply.

Do you think you have the best-decorated house on the North Fork? Prove it.

Photos credits: Katharine Schroeder

11/22/14 10:22am
11/22/2014 10:22 AM
Local store owners show items to make a Thanksgiving table stand out. (Credit: Rachel Young photos)

Local store owners show items to make a Thanksgiving table stand out. (Credit: Rachel Young photos)

Between trimming the turkey, whipping the mashed potatoes and baking the pumpkin pie, who has time to think about decorating for Thanksgiving? The good news is that it doesn’t have to be a chore. Local store owners from Calverton to Greenport identified for northforker.com six items they believe can add a touch of style to any holiday table.

See their suggestions on northforker.com