Residents dress up their homes for the holidays

Taking a look at how Cupertino families decorated for winter celebrations

Kalyani Puthenpurayil

For Cupertino resident Sarah Kopy, the winter holiday season is the time to pull out boxes overflowing with Christmas and New Year’s decorations to adorn her 6-foot-tall wooden bear, Bubba, that is positioned in front of her house.

Well-known around the neighborhood for her decorating, Kopy had received an email from the Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation to sign up for the Cupertino Holiday Lights Map — a map that allows residents of Cupertino to find and view different lighted trimmings. She wanted to complete decorating her house by Dec. 3 and plans to leave it up until Jan. 1. 

Kopy explains that her community of the people she cares about is what motivates her to decorate. She enjoys the reactions that she receives from her neighbors like “the sense of wonderment on their faces” as they walk by her house. 

“I do like lights on the house, but more or less, it’s for the children of the neighborhood,” Kopy said. “When I was a little kid, everybody decorated [their homes]. There wasn’t a house that wouldn’t have decorations. It was always a magical time, and we would walk the neighborhoods and look at the decorations.” 

Like Kopy, history teacher David Hartford likes to brighten up his classroom during the holidays. Each year, he provides his teacher assistants with decorations so they can hang them around the classroom — allowing students to get into the holiday spirit and destress before finals’ week. 

“It started off with just a tree with some ornaments, and then the TAs really got into it and it’s grown from there,” Hartford said.

Junior Maya Mizrahi and her family also decorate their home to celebrate Hanukkah. Her family puts out the Chanukiah on the table, which holds nine candles — eight which are lighted and one in the middle that is used to light the others — to represent the oil that lasted throughout a conflict against religious persecutors. Mizrahi finds these nights that she spends with her family during Hanukkah to “feel more special than regular nights.”

Similar to Mizrahi, Hartford finds that the holidays are “a change of pace” since he and his fiancé will pick a day when they are both free to play Christmas music and hang simple decorations such as a small tree and ornaments that students have gifted him around their house, using it as an opportunity to get into the holiday spirit and spend time with each other. 

“When you create traditions with people that you care about, those traditions carry on from year to year [and] it establishes meaning to the event that goes well beyond symbolically what society puts on it,” Hartford said. “For me, decorating, having that moment [to do] something that [my fiancé and I] can enjoy and do together that’s outside of the norm, it has additional value to me.”

Click here to take a look at lighted decorations around Cupertino.