Mayor's holiday lights outshining some neighbors on Palm Beach

Some notable residents daring to be different

PALM BEACH, Fla. - When it comes to holiday light displays on Palm Beach island, perfection is paramount.  But not every family wants their home to look picture perfect.  Some are daring to be different.

A lot of time, effort and about $75,000 in private donations make Worth Avenue look as elegant as it does for this special time of year.  But some Palm Beachers want more than just pretty white lights to make this holiday bright. 

"I think it's a very elegant look. It's fantastic," said Leonard Schulz of ChristmasDesigners.com , a business that has decorated the island for 15 years - all in white, twinkling lights.

Some Palm Beachers, however, want a little more color for Christmas. 

"Santa Claus is always pretty tough to get up there," said Frank Coniglio, whose oceanfront home harkens back to the holidays of his childhood in a predominately Italian neighborhood in Washington D.C.  "Everybody in the neighborhood would be all colored lights, very seldom just all white lights," he said of holidays past.

Amid the white lights all over the island, Coniglio is daring to be different. 

"What better way to do it than have a lot of decorations?," he asked.  

From his singing Santa to the palm trees wrapped in colorful lights, Coniglio did not do this all on his own.  His wife, Gail Coniglio, the mayor of the town of Palm Beach, helped. 

"Oh, I love it. It's a celebration of certainly the happiness and the joy of the season," she said. 

The town she was elected to run may be adorned in white, but the Coniglio's home looks and sounds like nothing else on the island. 

"I don't think it's being different," she said.  "I think it's being happy."

Mr. Coniglio says even more lights are on the way.  Is he starting a trend around the island?  No, not just yet.  But the experts say it is always a possibility. 

"Our crews always get excited when we do a job in color because usually we are doing white," said Schulz.

The Palm Beach town manager says there are no regulations when it comes to how residents decorate their private property for the holidays, giving people like the Coniglios the 'green light' to be bold with their holiday displays.

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