Night Lights: Fishers neighborhood displays dazzling Christmas spirit


Driving through Fishers’ Windermere subdivision in the early evening in December is impressive, with twinkling lights wrapped around trees lining the streets. But it all literally pales in comparison to what’s on display at Bent Tree Lane.

Turning into the cul-de-sac is like driving into Christmas. A bright banner that says “Choose Joy” spans the street, and each house offers a dazzling display of Christmas trees, reindeer, gingerbread houses, snowmen, candy canes and so much more.

Erica and Dan Seabaugh own one of the highly decorated homes. Dan Seabaugh said it started with neighbor Rick Brickley, who always has a nice holiday display. He said the rest of the cul-de-sac really got on board during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was like, ‘All right, well, we’re just going to be home for the season,’ so we kind of got in the spirit and said, ‘Let’s just see if we can do something like Rick does,’” he said. “And then everybody else just kind of joined in.”

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Christmas displays at a cul-de-sac on Bent Tree Lane in Fishers include a manger and a Christmas star. (Photo by Adam Seif)

Erica Seabaugh said the goal in 2020 was to make Christmas extra special for the kids.

“Because at that point, kids weren’t at school, (and) people were staying apart from each other,” she said. “We knew it was safe for people to stay in their cars and drive around. So, we did a live Nativity that year (and) the kids did Christmas carols.”

That’s also the year they came up with the idea for the lighted banner spanning the street. Neighbor Brittany Lubeke said she had seen a similar banner and suggested it through the cul-de-sac’s group text chat.  She said that initially they thought it would be too challenging, but Dan Seabaugh was able to rig up a sign, and they decided the message should read ‘Choose Joy’ because it was short and positive.

“We were doing research like, ‘OK, how high does the garbage truck go? And how high does UPS (need it) to get through and how high if there’s a semi?” she said, recalling that the first time a garbage truck came through after the banner went up, there was a lot of texting — and a lot of relief when it cleared the sign.

Raising the sign is a group effort that takes about four hours, several ladders and at least one person in the trees.

Another neighbor is an electrical and software engineer, Dan Seabaugh said, and coordinates some of the blinking lights with holiday music that plays outside.

Overall, it takes four full days — usually two weekends — for the neighbors at Bent Tree Lane’s cul-de-sac to complete their holiday setup. That doesn’t include time spent in the garage assembling displays that get taken apart for storage each year.

What makes it worthwhile is the joy they share with others. People out enjoying holiday lights will drive through, including buses from nearby retirement villages. Erica Seabaugh said it’s meaningful for herself and her neighbors, but they also love sharing their holiday spirit with others.

Sometimes, there’s a line of cars cruising through the cul-de-sac and residents have to get in line to reach their driveways. But, she said, she doesn’t mind the wait.

“I love coming into the neighborhood at night and seeing all of the lights on,” she said. “It kind of brings some light when things are dark at 5:00 now. I just think it’s wonderful to be able to share that joy and I do think we all really like that. So many people get joy out of it. Otherwise I don’t think we’d go through all this effort.”

Dan Seabaugh added that they’ve used the traffic that comes through their neighborhood for good causes, including a coat drive and donations to local food banks.

When the season is over, the decorations will be disassembled, strings of lights wrapped up and everything stored in garages, basements and — for the bigger stuff — storage units. But until then, the lights on Bent Tree Lane go on at dusk each night and can be viewed through the end of December.

City of Fishers offers holiday lights map

The City of Fishers has launched its annual Fishers Holiday Lights Map for residents who want to hop in the car and drive around to look at various light displays in the community.

As of Dec. 11, the map had more than a dozen locations pinned with more added as people sign up. In addition to homes, the map includes the Nickel Plate Trail Night Lights in downtown Fishers.

To view the map, or to add a home, visit