Lighting Up the Holidays

Written for Chicago Parent Going Places magazine- Winter 2014


It started when her husband bought a too-tall tree.

“It hit the ceiling and bent over. I joked that it looked good… for a tree cut in half. We took the top off and put it in our bedroom. And that was how we got the idea for a two-story tree,” says Mary Noonan of Lincolnwood.

The next year, the family devised a three-story tree, which started on the first floor, traveled through the second and burst through a hole in the roof. That tree became legendary amongst Chicago-area holiday lights spectators and the Noonan house, just north of Devon and two blocks west of Cicero, at 6601 N. LeRoy Ave., Lincolnwood, has been a main attraction ever since.

“It’s part of what makes this home special for us,” says Mary, who used to view holiday lights in this neighborhood with her father as a child before moving into the house 32 years ago.

By mid-December, you can expect to see their tree lit up with 25,000 twinkling LED lights and two real stuffed reindeer in the yard pulling Santa and his sleigh. The dazzling display can stop traffic, so bring some hot chocolate and turn up the holiday tunes.

Plenty of other homes in the neighborhood add to the eye candy, including ones honoring both the Christian and Jewish holidays, making it well worth the ride.

With their six children grown and four grandchildren under 3, it’s a lot of work for the Noonans to get this grandeur together, but they continue to do it for the carloads of families that come to bask in the holiday glow.

Just how do they get that tree through the roof?

“It’s the magic of Christmas” Mary says.