Towns unite to spread Christmas cheer

By Alexa Shrake for the Daily Journal

Whiteland and New Whiteland residents are putting rivalries aside this Christmas to bring both towns together in the holiday spirit with a joint holiday home decorating contest.

After moving to New Whiteland last year during the pandemic Dee Appleton was looking for a way to celebrate the holidays with her neighbors. In her hometown, the local government organized holiday celebrations.

“I’m from a smaller town and we have a kind of a central spot where our town hall is and we put up a big Christmas tree and it’s just a big block,” Appleton said. “I asked just innocently on Facebook, ‘Hey, do you guys have a tree you put up?’”

So, last year Appleton decided to organize an inaugural house decorating contest in New Whiteland. Appleton’s work paid off and word spread about the contest, now this year there are six women organizing the decorating contests for New Whiteland and Whiteland.

“I didn’t know what I was gonna do. It was really by the seat of my (pants),” Appleton said. “It just exploded.”

Last year 26 homes entered the contest. This year the number has grown slightly to 30, with time still left to enter, Appleton said. The deadline to enter is Dec. 5 for Whiteland residents and Dec. 12 for New Whiteland residents.

Prizes will be awarded to the winning homes on the night of the Santa parade in each town. The Whiteland parade will take place on Dec. 11 for Whiteland and the New Whiteland parade is Dec. 19.

The committee put up lights at Whiteland Town Hall this year and there is a town tree up in New Whiteland for the first time. Lights and prizes to make the celebration possible were donated by individuals and businesses in the community, she said.

“We care about the Christmas spirit and what it means to you,” said Angela Lucas, a committee member. “It means to me baking, decorating and being over the top.”

The new tradition expanded this year and they hope to keep it growing in the coming years.

“It’s going to look like Christmas threw up,” Appleton said.