Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

December 12, 2012

Let there be lights

TAHLEQUAH — Melody Dudgeon loves Christmas, and anyone driving by her home at 402 S. Cherokee will see the evidence of her passion.

Just after dusk each evening, the exterior of the home comes alive with lights, and features a gingerbread theme, along with a wooden silhouette of the nativity.

Dudgeon said while the decorations take a lot of effort, it’s important to share her enthusiasm of the birth of Christ.

“The main reason behind all the decorations is a celebration of the birth Jesus Christ,” said Dudgeon. “Nothing has impacted our world or our lives in such a way as this. Amid all the decorations and tradition that go along with the festivities of Christmas, we hope people will be reminded there is a reason for this season, and that reason is our salvation.”

Dudgeon and her husband do all the work themselves, which can be time-consuming. For Melody, it’s a labor of love.

“We love the lights, we love the work, we love the people stopping us to let us know how much they appreciate and enjoy coming by and bringing their children and grandchildren,” said Dudgeon. “It’s fun when people start asking us in October if we are going to put out the lights again this year.”

Those who have lived in Tahlequah for a while may have noticed the absence of the Dudgeon’s lights the past few of years.

“We have always decorated together, for 20 years, up until almost four years ago, when my husband’s back was severely injured and surgeries followed,” said Dudgeon. “This prevented us from being able to do what we used to.”

But the couple were back at work this year, and those who love to view lights won’t want to miss the display. Dudgeon said they used to complete the task in a weekend, but it takes a little longer these days.

“The house has always reminded us of a gingerbread house, so we try to go along with that theme when decorating outside,” said Dudgeon. “I usually decide on the ‘theme,’ and my husband helps me with the things too tall for me to reach safely or do alone. He is the one in charge of making it all light up.”

Dudgeon said they used to have help with the display.

“In the past, we had relatives and neighbors and good friends come over and help us with all of this, but people have grown up, have families of their own, and have moved to other places,” she said. “[Now] it’s just the two of us working together to do the best we can. Our three cats and two dogs supervise the best they can.”

Dudgeon invites residents and visitors to pass by the home on the corner of Cherokee and Chickasaw.

“We love people driving by and looking,” she said. “And we hope they are reminded to dwell upon the time when Christ was born, and to allow him to be a part of their lives in all seasons.”

The tradition of lighting up the holidays dates back to 17th century Europe, when German citizens used small candles to light up their Christmas trees.

Kate Kelly, tourism director for the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce, said there are several good spots in town for those looking to view outdoor light displays.

“Tahlequah Main Street Association has decorated Norris Park with lights, and it’s simply gorgeous,” said Kelly. “The city has also put out its lighting display throughout Sequoyah City Park. Other good locations for viewing lights would be the neighborhoods near Greenwood School, and I believe homeowners at Southridge also have some nice displays.”

According to History.com, Edward Johnson was the first person to use electric lights to decorate a Christmas tree in 1882, in New York City. Johnson was one of Thomas Edison’s protégés, and eventually became vice president of Edison’s electric company.

Since Johnson’s time, the tradition of lighting trees, and eventually homes inside and out, has grown exponentially. As the tradition has gained popularity, technology has advanced, producing brighter and more efficient bulbs.

According to Jeffrey Orloff, former About.com guide, compact fluorescent lights – CFLs – and light emitting diodes, or LEDs – can save on energy bills.

“The traditional bulb used for holiday lighting – an incandescent C7 – uses 6 watts,” wrote Orloff. “This is per bulb, remember. When we compare this to the .08 watts used per LED bulb, we can see how much energy is saved.”

Orloff said a typical strand of 50 lights uses 300 watts. At the national average of about 9.81 cents per kilowatt hour, that equals 3 cents per hour, per strand. Running lights five hours a day for the entire season of 30 days, the total cost for one stand of holiday lights is $4.50.


To see the complete version of this article, subscribe to the Daily Press e-edition by following the link below.

Click here to get the entire Tahlequah Daily Press delivered every day to your home or office.

Click here to get a free trial or to subscribe to the Tahlequah Daily Press electronic edition. It's the ENTIRE newspaper (without the paper) for your computer, iPad or e-reader.

Text Only
Local News
  • ths-jazz-2.jpg THS jazz band gets up early to hone performance skills

    It means getting up an hour earlier, and it doesn’t count as a class, but the jazz band at Tahlequah High School enjoys the dedication of a group of enthusiastic students.
    The THS Jazz Band practices every day at 7 a.m., an hour before the start of classes. It numbers 17, and is led by Director Orien Landis.
    “They have to do this before school and they get no class credit, but we have a full band,” Landis said. “They are really excited about this.”

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Easter-basket-kid.jpg Easter traditions date back centuries

    Some Christians may lament a partial shift of focus, but a Christian holy day - perhaps the most holy of all – is this Sunday, and it will be marked with celebrations all around the world.
    The Christian holiday of Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. For centuries, the observant have fasted, reflected or done penance in the weeks leading to the holiday. But today, many also associate the holiday with the Easter bunny, candy, and kites. In 2013, Americans spent $2.1 billion on Easter candy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Some oppose minimum wage hike; others decry strong-arming by state

    President Barack Obama and the U.S. Senate recently announced a push to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour, to $10.10. On the heels of the announcement, an initiative petition was introduced in Oklahoma City to raise the minimum wage to the suggested $10.10. If it gained 80,000 signatures, it would be put to a vote of the people.
    This legislative session, a bill passed prohibiting municipalities from setting a minimum was or vacation and sick-day requirements. Gov. Mary Fallin signed the bill into law earlier this week.

    April 18, 2014

  • Phone scam takes $500 from couple

    Authorities are warning Cherokee County residents to watch for a costly phone scam that recently targeted a local couple and ended in their loss of $500.
    According to sheriff’s deputies, a couple contacted authorities after losing $500 to the scam. The couple received a phone call from a man who identified himself only as “Mr. Green.” He told the couple they had won $1.5 million through Publisher’s Clearing House, but to collect the money, the couple would have to purchase a $500 money card to cover various fees.

    April 18, 2014

  • Missing local teen found dead

    The body of a missing 17-year-old boy was found in southern Cherokee County on Thursday, sheriff’s investigators said.
    Brikk Pritchett was reported missing earlier this month after disappearing on March 30, a day before his 17th birthday.

    April 18, 2014

  • ts honor flight 1.tif Flight of honor

    World War II veteran Charles Harra flew missions for the Army Air Corps, and if you ask him which flight was his most memorable, he’ll say it was his 35th mission.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man charged after leading authorities on wild chase

    Prosecutors have formally charged a man who allegedly led authorities on a wild high-speed pursuit across Cherokee County in late March.

    April 17, 2014

  • Sex offender bonds out after failing to register

    A Cherokee County man is out on bond after being arrested last week for failing to register as a sex offender.

    April 17, 2014

  • jn radiator shop.jpg ‘Greenbelt’ progressing

    Crews this week began to demolish an abandoned radiator shop at the corner of South Street and Guinn Avenue.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • ts slut walk.tif SlutWalk shines spotlight on crime

    “Two, four, six, eight, stop the violence, stop the rape; slut, slut, ho, ho, yes means yes and no means no!”
    This was the battle cry across the campus of Northeastern State University, as the student branch of the American Association of University Women held its third annual SlutWalk Wednesday.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo


What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism