Bette Lessen, Arma City Clerk, knows all about the town of Arma. But one thing she doesn’t know is just when the city began putting up Christmas decorations throughout the town.

Bette Lessen, Arma City Clerk, knows all about the town of Arma. But one thing she doesn’t know is just when the city began putting up Christmas decorations throughout the town.

“I’ve been here for 21 years, and we’ve been doing it that long,” Lessen said. “I presume it’s at least 25 years.”

Arma is just one of the local cities that post Christmas lights every year. But while most just see the festive atmosphere the lights and decorations provide, few consider the effort involved with putting up and taking down the decorations, let alone the cost of keeping up the Christmas spirit.

Lessen said that Arma will begin the process of taking down the Christmas lights after the holidays have ended, likely early next week. Similarly, Pittsburg will take theirs down beginning Monday at 4 p.m.

Arma’s lights now feature lights across the street with garland, and settings on posts along one side of the street. A Christmas tree and mini wire trees, as well as “Santa Claus and such” also fill the Arma City Park.
But that’s not the only thing that brightens the holiday spirit.

“People have been enjoying looking at the city’s lights. We think they add a little cheer to the season,” Lessen said. “Each town around here does something similar. Also, when people come into the city hall here, we have bells on the front of the door. Sometimes that scares them. People will comment about the Christmas spirit while they are paying their utility bills.”

In Pittsburg, the downtown Christmas lights are on a timer that helps the city regulate the power needs of the Christmas lights. In season, the Christmas lights go on about 4:30-5 p.m. and go off about 10 p.m. every night, according to Bill Beasley, Pittsburg director of public works.

But don’t worry about the Christams lights affecting anyone’s pocketbooks.

“The cost of those lights are minimal compared to the big city lights we have all the time,” Beasley said. “The Christmas lights may not go off at the same time. They are on the same power source as the overhead lights. The electric bill we get every month covers both of those costs.”

The work to both put up and take down the lights in Pittsburg involves the city Parks and Recreation department, run by Kim Vogel. She said that while there is some effort to both putting them up and taking the lights down, it may be a bit easier to take the lights down.

“I think the preparation going into putting the lights up is where the real hassle lies,” Vogel said. “There is an effort and coordination that goes into it.”

Beasley agreed.

“I think when we put them up in about an hour,” he said. “It’ll take even less to get them down.”

Andrew Nash can be reached at andrew.nash@morningsun.net or by calling 231-2600 ext. 132.