McALLEN — For a couple of months each year, two houses on Pecan Boulevard in west McAllen stand out from all the others.
Angels and snowmen dance on the lawns.
Garlands of tiny bulbs wind around trees and hang off rooftops.
These houses blaze so brightly it almost looks like they’re on fire.
No, it’s not a competition, à laDeck the Halls — the Christmas movie now in theaters in which two neighbors wage out-right war over who can hang the most lights.
Holiday spirit just runs in the family for sisters Irma Medrano and Lily Moroles cq.The sisters, who live about a block apart, have made a tradition of decking out their homes in enough holiday glitz to impress even Santa.
"They compete," says Irma Medrano’s husband, Daniel.
Irma demurs, saying she can’t keep up with her sister, who lives in a gated community and therefore can put out more expensive decorations without worrying they’ll be stolen.
"I just put a few little odds and ends out there," she said.
That’s if lit-up wire reindeer, snowmen, angels and a boatload of lights count as a few odds and ends.
Still, at the Moroles house a couple of blocks east on Pecan, the set-up is even more elaborate. Lily Moroles has all the lights and lit-up wire figurines her sister does, but she has also added a whole cast of blow-up characters.
Holiday decorations are a family tradition for Lily and Irma, whose aunts and grandmother also decked out their homes for Christmas.
And in the Medrano household, at least, decorations remain the province of the womenfolk.
"I say, ‘Look, this is on your own. Don’t expect me to help you,’" said Irma’s husband, Daniel.
To get the lights up in time, Irma takes off a week of vacation in late November from her job at a local car dealership.
For all the sisters’ efforts, though, the holiday sparkle does not seem to have spread to the neighbors.
Sylvia Aguirre, who lives a few houses up from the Medranos on 46th Street, said she appreciates the work but can’t match the sisters’ passion for lights.
"It’s beautiful," Aguirre said. "They have a lot of spirit."
Irma remains hopeful, though.
"I would like more people to participate, make it look festive, make it look beautiful," she said.
Kaitlin Bell covers Mission, western Hidalgo County and general assignments for The Monitor. You can reach her at (956) 683-4446.
Submit photos of your holiday lighting fun at www.themonitor.com/photos.