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Cletus and Betty Koester won the Reason for the Season Category in the Holiday Lights & Festive Sights Contest in Effingham.

Koester's win Reason for the Season Category

Christmas is a time to bring family together and spread the gift of giving.

But the true meaning of Christmas is what it is all about.

Jesus is the center of conversation in the Koester household and they definitely enjoy decorating their Nativity scene.

Cletus and Betty Koester have been decorating their front lawn for 26 years and enjoy doing it every year.

“This is the first time we have entered and it’s the first time we have won,” Betty said. “We were really happy and surprised that we won.”

The Koester’s were voted winners in the “Reason for the Season” Category as part of the City of Effingham and the Effingham Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Holiday Lights & Festive Sights Contest.

Betty likes listening to the WCRA radio talk show in the morning and heard them talk about the contest. She heard that if they wanted to enter they had to call by noon that day.

Their Nativity scene is their favorite part of the decorations, but not because of just baby Jesus.

“Each of our eight sons has bought us a part of our Nativity scene,” Betty said. “It’s something we look forward to putting up every year.”

At night it’s easier to see the star on the flag pole above their decorations.

“We use the flag pole for the star to make it look more realistic,” Cletus noted. “We lowered the star because the wind keeps catching it.”

The Koester’s like to add something new every year. This year they added a blue spotlight facing the Nativity scene.

They also have a huge sign in their yard that says Happy Holidays from the Koesters. Their son made it for them one year and it consists of 600 Christmas lights.

“We have a lot of people drive by and stop right in front of our house to really look at everything,” Betty said.

Each of the first place winners in the categories are given a $250 check and can use it for whatever they please.

“We haven’t decided what we will use the money for, but we do know that we are going to take the kids out because they deserve it,” Betty said.

They aren’t sure if they are going to enter the contest next year. But one thing is certain. They will still have their Nativity scene out front and their sign greeting all who come to see their house.

Their decorations can be seen at 700 N. Parkview in Effingham.

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