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Christmas lights are a long-standing tradition that bring joy and wonder to the holiday season. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many holiday traditions that we hold close to our hearts, but the Christmas light decorations can still be viewed all over the county. One energetic local has complied a map of lights across Chaffee County this Christmas.

Dana Hilton-Pasquale and her husband spent the past 15 years living in Missouri. She recalled it was always hard to find Christmas lights in Springfield or Branson, until she stumbled across a map created by a woman who blogged about it. “I started using that and I started seeing all these amazing things. Well, I just assumed that we would have one in Chaffee County and come to find out after a lot of searching, we don’t.”

Hilton-Pasquale explained “I love Christmas lights. I went to high school in Salida, I met my husband here. I lived in Howard and I never really got to go and get the feel of the Salida Christmas. This year I saw the lighting of the Christmas tree for the first time on the mountain and afterwards, my husband and I, it’s something we’ve always done every year; drive around and look for Christmas lights.”

“There are a lot of newcomers,” continued Hilton-Pasquale. “This is not the same Salida that I grew up in and there are a lot of people from other states and other places. They may not know where Wood Avenue is or where the old A&W is.”

Hilton-Pasquale used to help process workers compensation claims and helped obtain durable medical equipment, something that was even more stressful during the holiday season. She found everything from canes and crutches to white-glove service for a dolphin bed for a burn victim. “It was a really stressful job. [touring to see Christmas light] was one of the things I used to do after work because it got worse around the holidays for me. That’s how I would switch gears.”

With her previous experiences and the downers of COVID, Hilton-Pasquale came up with an idea. “I decided that I would slowly try to put this list together.” Some people have given Hilton their addresses via Facebook while others have been spotted throughout the county. “I spend anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours after work every day driving around and dropping pins.”

In regard to this year’s Christmas, she explained, “For me, get a thermos full of hot chocolate and bring a bag of marshmallows, load up the kids in the car, throw on some Christmas carols and just go around, drive, sing. You can still celebrate Christmas.  We’re having to find new unique ways of doing it and this is the easiest, cheapest most effective way to do it. I truly appreciate these houses that have taken the time to put up these displays.”

“Some of them are real simple and classic. Others, they are just outlandish, and you can’t even believe that someone would take the time to do this for others. I want to thank those people because I don’t think they truly understand how much joy they bring to others for something that’s so simple like this,” she continued.

“There’s always a little bit of emotional reasons behind things but that’s why I’m doing it. Hopefully this helps a few people. You may be separate, but you’re not alone.”

Hilton-Pasquale is currently working on a blog that is set to go live within the coming days. To have your Christmas lights be featured on the map, email your address to

Click here to see the Christmas Light map.