By Sophia Ricco
This holiday season it’s even easier to get in the Christmas spirit with the help of christmaslightsli.com, a website that gathers together Long Island’s most decrative homes.
The festive site was created by Smithtown resident, Raymond Schettini, known as Mr. Christmas by friends, who searched far and wide on the web for a list of holiday homes with amazing displays but came up empty handed. Schettini, president of cyber security company T.G. Professionals, utilized his web programming background to design the entire website a month ago.
“I couldn’t find a compiled master list of all the houses, so I just decided to do it myself,” Schettini said. “Then I wanted to share it with the community, so I made it public.”
Christmaslightsli.com has over 40 verified houses and an events page that posts tree lightings, menorah lightings and food drives. Although, most people won’t be decorating until the weekend following Thanksgiving, there will still be plenty of time to enjoy the displays.
“I think we could all use some holiday cheer here on the Island. It’s been a fun, interesting year,” Schettini said.
Schettini compiled his masterlist through referrals and researching on other websites. He has dedicated a great amount of time to developing it, but to him it’s worth it to have a collection of homes to see with family and friends.
“Christmas lights bring everyone together, my family has been driving around looking at Christmas lights since we were kids,” Schettini said. “It’s a family tradition.”
Another tradition close to Schettini’s heart is the Christmas Convoy, a group of people that decorate their cars with Christmas lights and ride around the Island. He started the tradition 10 years ago with his fellow firefighters to spread holiday joy. The Convoy has not planned a holiday light tour yet, but encourages others to design their own course with the website.
“Hopefully some people can come to the website and plan out their own routes, like my family used to do,” Schettini said. “Just drive around in the car for hours, looking at Christmas lights and make their own family tradition.”
Right now, Schettini runs the website on his own and pays $1,500 a month to make it public. He hopes to gain a few sponsors to offset the cost and keep it free.
“It’s all for fun, as long as everybody gets a kick out of it and enjoys it and it helps some people,” Schettini said. “It’s all about spreading some holiday spirit.”
He hopes the website will inspire people to extravagantly decorate their homes and maybe even be a part of the site.
“We just want people to keep decorating houses and sending them to us,” Schettini said. “At the end of the day, we just want a massive map of houses.”
Those who are looking to spread some holiday cheer by decorating their home or holding a holiday event should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.