Oh, that Gloria Jones sure is a feisty one when the holidays come around. At 53, the Abilene-born Jones (or Miss Gloria, as she calls herself) still gets giddy when the calendar page turns to December. She was born two days after Christmas, so you could say she walked out the womb feeling the Christmas spirit. And for ten years now, she has been showing her holiday cheer by decorating her house, as well as others on her block.
Over the years, other blocks in the Scott Terrace neighborhood have joined in, lining their sidewalks with lights and tall, glowing arches. What was once the month-long beautification of three blocks has ballooned into a 15-block festival of light. It's now a southeast Houston tradition and one of the city's most dazzling, breathtaking holiday sights.
"It was like a childhood dream," Miss Gloria says of her motivation to create an electric candyland. "You know when you're a kid and dream about when you get grown and get older, you wanna decorate your place. You wanna just make it pretty." In previous years Jones switched on the lights of her decked-out display the minute Thanksgiving was over, but this time around she's holding off until Wednesday, December 5, to give her neighbors a chance to catch up.
Jones is quick to point out that she appreciates all the attention she has received from the media (the Houston Chronicle, USA Today and even CNN) as well as the hundreds of people who stop by every year. But Jones believes it's time to get hers now. "This year," she says, "I'm gonna be selling T-shirts with my autograph and everything on it." Many of them will bear a picture of her yard's centerpiece: a massively decorated 1964 Cadillac Sedan DeVille, which this year will be covered in more than 4,000 red, white and blue lights.
But ultimately Jones just wants Houstonians to get their ho-ho-ho on when they see her lights. She tells a story about a white woman who brings her family to see the lights every year. Last year the woman asked Jones if she had won anything for all her trouble. Miss Gloria just said, "Lady, I've won y'all!"