Who won our Deck the Halls holiday decorating contest?

12/19/2014 10:00 AM |
A life-sized sculpture of Santa Claus climbing a ladder takes center stage in the winter wonderland that Kevin and Tammy Kruger start working on each November on Mechanic Street in Southold. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

A life-sized sculpture of Santa Claus climbing a ladder takes center stage in the winter wonderland that Kevin and Tammy Kruger start working on each November on Mechanic Street in Southold. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

There are people who love Christmas and then there’s Kevin and Tammy Kruger.

The Krugers, who have been decorating each holiday season for two decades, created a unique setting, using practically every inch of their property at 640 Mechanic St. in Southold. For that, they’ve earned the grand prize in our first Deck the Halls holiday decorating contest, which includes a $1,000 gift certificate courtesy of Riverhead Building Supply.

The front yard of the Krugers’ home is simple and elegant, with giant snowflakes hanging from tree branches and a life-size Santa standing on a ladder near the front door. The couple even has a trio of lit-up reindeer on the far side of the frozen pond in their backyard. When the last of us arrived to judge their house Sunday evening, we found our colleagues roasting marshmallows in a backyard bonfire.

In order to get the full holiday effect of the Krugers’ home, however, you have to step inside. Literally every room in their house was decorated when we visited — from the perfectly set dining room table to the hundreds of Santas in the living room to the pillows in each bedroom. They probably even had soap shaped like St. Nick’s sleigh in the bathroom, but we didn’t have to go.

“Our house is all about the love of Christmas,” said Mr. Kruger, who owns a company that hosts children’s parties and said he and his wife spend three weeks decorating inside and out. “We find things, we buy things, we collect things. We use what we have.”

It’s true. The hood of a vintage Mercedes-Benz in the driveway was adorned with a big red bow, Christmas-themed topiaries lined the front stoop and the Krugers even decorated with gingerbread houses from years’ past. They have not one but two large decorated Christmas trees.

Our judges were floored, assigning the house an average score of 9.3. The Krugers earned a contest-best four perfect scores and five nines. One Grinch scored it an eight and the rest of us couldn’t understand why.

“It looks like a show house or something out of a movie,” said judge Michael White, one of two people to rank the house No. 1 (five other judges had it in a first-place tie). “They’re great hosts and they do creative work.”

Judge Rachel Young agreed.

“It’s decorated from top to bottom,” she wrote. “I can tell they really love Christmas.”

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Click on the tabs below for more photos of the Kruger family’s home and images of the honorable mentions.

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