By Janee Law
Every holiday season, Commack resident Jonathan Dignam looks forward to taking his 5-year-old daughter and 12-year-old niece around town to take in the festive holiday lights and decorations affixed to homes.
But it can become frustrating after so many years, he added, to search for such homes.
So, he thought to himself, “I’d like to make a map for myself.”
“It really kind of started out to convenience myself, to remember where these houses are,” Dignam, 42, said. “And then it kind of just blossomed from there.”
Dignam said that he was able to find homes that put on decorative displays by joining various Facebook groups, doing research by reading local news outlets and different websites, such as Mommypoppins.com and Cosmoli.com. He also accepts suggestions for additions through emails to email@example.com.
With every house he discovered, Dignam would added the address to a map he created online through Google Maps. It can be accessed at Tinyurl.com/jogwfef. The process of assembling the addresses began in December 2015, Dignam said, and he has since added nearly 700 addresses across both Nassau and Suffolk to the map.
For the Town of Huntington, Dignam has spotted 41 locations across Dix Hills, Melville, Commack, Elwood, East Northport, Northport, Fort Salonga, Greenlawn, Huntington and Huntington Station. Commack and Huntington Station appear to be the most festive of the bunch as both of the towns have 12 homes listed, the most of any of the towns.
Dignam said there have been over 130,000 views of the map, and that he’s publicized it through social media.
“People love it, so I’m very happy,” Dignam said. “It’s wonderful that people are actually using it and getting out, having fun enjoying all the lights and spreading the holiday cheer.”
The map can be used on mobile devices through the Google Maps application. It pinpoints the house locations using tree emoji. After clicking on the tree emoji, the map provides navigation to the home.
In addition, the map also features a spreadsheet that provides further details of the home, such as the address, synchronized lights or charity the homeowner is seeking donations for, such as Mended Hearts, Cohen Children’s Medical Center or the Suffolk Chapter of the Autism Society of America.
“I think it’s important that we support our community, especially with the donations to all these wonderful causes,” Dignam said. “I love when I’m driving around with my daughter and my niece and seeing other families drive around, having a great time and supporting these wonderful people that put on these fantastic displays.
“I think it’s wonderful that they do that for the community.”