Wayne and Alayne Renninger have been decorating their house for Christmas in a big way for more than 30 years. If one inflatable Santa is good, 10 are better. They're house broadcasts "Merry Christmas" in large white lights.
Seeing their house on S. Fairview Road in Salisbury Township all decked out in lights and hearing the appreciative comments from passersby was always its own reward.
But that changed yesterday when the Renningers found out their house was selected to be among 24 finalists out of hundreds of contestants in Patch's national Deck the House Contest. If they win (by getting the most votes by Jan. 8), Salisbury Township School District gets $100,000, no strings attached. As finalists, the Renningers get $500 toward their electric bill. You can vote at deckthehouse.patch.com.
Which is good, Wayne said, because he never believed his wife when he would ask her what their electric bill cost this time of year. "For the last 30 years she's been saying it's $100," he said.
The couple can hardly believe they're in the running to help win $100,000, which has . The Renningers have been phoning and e-mailing all their friends since they got the news. They're particularly excited since Alayne and their two sons, Erik and Chad, are Salisbury High School graduates.
Alayne admits she's obsessed. Every November, she can be found walking around her property at night with a headlamp. A woman on a mission, she's not looking for exotic flora or fauna that appear only after the sun goes down. No truffle hunting going on here. Instead, with ladder, lights, inflatable Santa and husband Wayne in tow, Alayne is out to decorate her house for the holidays. Big time. Nothing subtle here.
"I don't really know why I do it," she said. "It makes me feel good."
This is how the Renningers get merry, although one suspects they're that way all year long.