The Enlightening and Delightful Festive Residents of Bayhill Spring


From left to right: Jeff Fillmore, Sophia Chen, Kristen Nitz, and Stephen Bibbens. Posing together in good spirit! Credits: Sherry Wang

Sophia Chen, Reporter

Ever heard of the famous and glorious Bayhill Spring? The distinguished Boise Residential Subdivision is well known for its numerous Christmas lights. Over 60 of the many houses in the subdivision are decorated with the glow of the holiday spirit and lights. Each year, they have an annual Holiday Christmas Lights event where the entire neighborhood participates. Three participants are awarded honorable mentions with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place award signs to display in their yard. During  mid-December, lots of people begin to crowd in the subdivision like moths to a flame. Drive through the lit streets of Bayhill Spring, which emulate warmth and joy. 

One of the prodigious, long-time residents of Bayhill Spring, Jeff Fillmore, spoke about his delightful experiences there. Jeff explains that he usually spends up to three hours setting up his lights for each of the next five to seven days. He used to find it difficult to organize the decorations, but he’s become a master at his craft over the years.

A couple of years ago, Jeff won the 1st place award for the Christmas lights competition. A while back, the event used to pay $250 to the first-place winners. Now, with a benevolent holiday spirit, the event donates the winning prize money to the Idaho Food Bank. The winners tend to change each year to allow everyone to shine because of their hard work. Jeff mentioned that some people hired professionals to decorate their houses and spent thousands of dollars on decorating. Fierce as always, Jeff does it all himself and for “dirt cheap.” At the time of visit, one house even had a guy on a bucket truck to wrap the lights around a really tall tree.

Two other cheerful residents of Bayhill Spring, the married couple Kristen Nitz and Steven Bibbens, live just next door to Jeff. They have an innovative strategy of hanging up lights on tall trees. Kristen, Steven, and many others in the neighborhood throw weighted tennis balls atop the trees to get the end of the lights up high. Then, they let the tennis balls fall. It’s revolutionary.

Back in the 60’s when the one and only, Jeff, was a little kid, he would drive up with his mom and dad to visit the ‘highlands’ area. There weren’t many houses in the foothills back then, and every home in this area was all packed with lights. Jeff says,” And I loved it. I loved going up there, and I can always remember thinking, man… it would be so cool to be like these people, to do all these lights.” 

Steven states at one point, “Yesterday, I left for work. I hadn’t gone outside all day, and when I got to work, it was dark, and when I left work, it was dark, and so I was a little bit depressed. It was so dark. And when I drove into the subdivision, there were just lights everywhere. It kinda put a smile on my face.” The way these chipper residents speak about each other, make it apparent that the people in this vast area are incredibly close and merry with one another. 

 The fun process of hanging up Christmas lights, the sense of community here, and the happiness that the lights bring, signify what the holidays are all about. At Bayhill Spring, it was cold outside, but it felt really warm and bright standing there on the road, not just because of the lights.