The lights and decorations have gone up for the last 16 years
ATASCADERO — When Cyndi Mims opened her business, Colony Mortgage, on El Camino Real in 2005, she never guessed that her yearly tradition of putting up holiday decorations would make such a lasting impact on the local community.
“I started doing it [decorating] back in 2006 when I first got the place. It’s so cute, and everybody can see it from the freeway. I started simple, just some lights and decorations,” Mims stated. “The community loves it so much — the kids. I started doing more because I enjoy Christmas. I love Christmas lights, and I enjoy it, and then I saw how much joy everybody got from the Christmas lights. The more I did, the more joy.”
Mims added that it isn’t just people in Atascadero who enjoy the Christmas decorations she puts up on Colony Mortgage every year. It’s also the people traveling up and down the 101 for the holidays, which is why she tries to get everything up and plugged in before Thanksgiving— getting the holiday joy started early for everyone.
“It’s not just the young. I have so many elderly people [coming to see the decorations], and everybody loves it. They thank me. I just never knew how much joy it brought,” Mims said.
The community loves her Christmas light display so much that people bring their dogs and take family photos. Multiple doctor’s offices in the area have even used Colony Mortgage as a backdrop for their Christmas cards this year.
Aside from 2017, the Christmas display has been going strong. That year, Mims was out of town for the holidays and decided not to decorate. As a result, the lights and decorations of Colony Mortgage’s holiday splendor were missed so much that people (including non-locals) kept checking in on her to make sure everything was OK.
Since 2006, Mims’ joyous display has grown in size. Last year, her dad gave her all of his Christmas decorations from his mini storage business, and every year, she adds something new, making sure that it’s never the same.
“I had to have an electrician come and add more plugs and stuff like that for me a couple of years ago because we just kept adding to it,” laughed Mims.
Mims added that she couldn’t put on such a huge display without the help of her husband, Daniel Heilmann, who is always there to help put up and fix anything that goes wrong over the course of the long festive month.
We can’t wait to see what gets added to the Christmas display next year.
Photos by Christianna Marks / ATN