Jonelle Rule and David Rule have decorated their home for the past 10 years - ever since their first child was born - but this is the first year they entered the annual Christmas Outdoor Lighting Contest.

And the first time out, they took their area's top honors in this year's Christmas Outdoor Lighting Contest.Lighting professionals from the Illuminating Engineering Society have chosen 22 homes across the Salt Lake Valley for special recognition in this year's contest, sponsored jointly by the Deseret News, Utah Power & Light and the engineering society. The contest drew nearly 100 entries in seven divisions.

The Rule family prepared all year for their display, which includes a candy-cane lined driveway, dancing nutcrackers and a children's choir, all festooned with lights.

David, 11, and Andy, 9, cut the figures out of plywood. Jessica, 6, was color consultant and Alex, 2, helped paint the backs of the figures, Jonelle Rule said.

In past years, the Rules have been the only people on their block to decorate. Next year, they will join with their new next-door neighbors - who decorated but don't have lights - to create a two-yard Christmas extravaganza, Rule said.

"We went and looked at all the other houses. Some of them are really cute, and we got some good ideas for next year," Rule said.

The family decorates their house for Halloween, too, with appropriately colored lights, monster figures and scary music.

"It's fun. The neighbors enjoy it, too," Rule said. "We have people stop to look at the house all the time," Rule said. "One little girl down the street, when we took our Halloween stuff down, said, `When will you put your Christmas stuff up?' "

The best-decorated houses in south Davis and Salt Lake counties were given their awards on the basis of originality, theme, use and number of lights, additional decorations and artistic merit.

First-time entrants were judged separately from veterans of previous lighting contests.

The nearly 100 entries were grouped into seven areas to make judging and viewing convenient.

First-place winners will receive indoor electric grills for their midwinter barbecuing pleasure. Second-place winners will receive $25 gift certificates from the ZCMI Center, and third-place winners will receive two strings of outdoor lights, courtesy of General Electric, which they can add to their displays next year.



Christmas lighting contest winners:

Area 1

(So. Davis county, north of North Temple St.)

1. Chet Allen (1)

960 N. 660 W., W. Bountiful

2. Kyle Blair (2)

180 'A' St, SLC

3. Chad Badham (3)

553 W. 1880 S., Wood Cross

Area 2

(North Temple to 3300 S., East of Redwood Road)

1. Ronald Snarr (4)

1353 Ramona Ave., SLC.

2. Ron Johnson (5)

1416 S. West Temple, SLC

3. Alfred Petrucci (6)

3142 S. Valley St., SLC

Area 3

(1300 South to 7200 South, West of Redwood Road)

1. David Rule (7)

5910 S. Tressler Rd., Kearns

2. Ned Winder (8)

4400 W. 4100 S., W. Valley

3. Lon Davis (9)

4746 W. 4805 S., Kearns

Area 4

(West of 1300 East, south of 7200 South)

1. David Stauffer (10)

3540 W. 8245 S., W. Jordan

2. Wayne Hansen (11)

12120 S. Crestridge Circle, Sandy

3. Brent Miller (12)

8445 S. Harvard Park Dr., Sandy

Area 5

(East of 1300 East, south of 3300 south)

1. Karl Perschon (13)

9903 S. Pinehurst Dr., Sandy

2. John Pappadokis (14)

2145 E. Howey Dr., SLC.

3. The Dalquist Family (15)

1031 S. Vilas Dr., Sandy

Area A

(West of Redwood Road, from North Salt Lake to Riverton)

1. Jane Butterfield (16)

4161 W. 13400 S., Riverton

2. Nancy Van Der Meide (17)

3848 W. 8750 S., West Jordan

Larry Wood Family (18)

3994 S. 3750 W., West Valley

3. Richard Stanley (19)

3925 W. 3240 S., West Valley

Area B

(West of Redwood Road, from Bountiful to Draper)

1. Donald Allen (20)

7148 S. 2985 E., Salt Lake City

2. Ken Keown (21)

11230 S. 600 W., South Jordan

3. The Simper Family

4788 S. Hidden Cove, Taylorsville