The St. Andrew neighborhood in the River Hills subdivision is known for decorating during the holidays. Residents of St. Andrew wanted to bring some joy to the families in the community as they are dealing with issues from the COVID-19 pandemic, so they decided to put up Christmas lights for families to enjoy at night.

Author Gladys Taber once said, “Being a good neighbor is an art which makes life richer.” Mike Pitzer and Emily Kirby would agree with Gladys because what they have done for their neighbors in the St. Andrew neighborhood in River Hills has enriched the lives of their neighbors. They have created Christmas in April for the St. Andrew neighborhood.

“My neighbor, Mike Pitzer, is the one who initiated the whole thing,” Kirby said. “He put up his Christmas decorations and they look amazing. Once he did it, the rest of the neighborhood followed his lead.”

The St. Andrew neighborhood is known for holiday decorations. With the recent COVID-19 pandemic, the subdivision stepped up to make life more enjoyable for the children who live in all of the neighborhoods of River Hills.

“There is a children’s book called We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and the neighborhood associations asked all of us to put little bears in our windows or in our trees for the children to look for while they were out for a walk or riding their bikes,” Kirby said. “I think Mike and the rest of the neighborhood putting up the Christmas lights gives the families in St. Andrew something to look forward to each night.”

Pitzer’s Christmas lights display has been voted best display by the neighborhood for the last few years and he wanted to use his Christmas lights to put a smile on kids’ faces and give the parents something to do with their kids.

“I just felt like, why not bring some kind of joy back to the neighborhood,” Pitzer said. “It’s been nice with the nightly, non-stop traffic since we put up the lights in the neighborhood.”

Ten families in the neighborhood decorated homes with Christmas lights. Pitzer received a lot of positive feedback on his Facebook page after sharing the pictures of the homes decorated in St. Andrew.

Both Pitzer and Kirby feel that their community has come together to help each other get through these challenging pandemic times.

“Everyone has something they are going through right now,” Pitzer said. “I’m glad we could do something that is bringing joy to families in our community.”

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Libby Hopkins
Libby Hopkins has been a part of the Brandon community for more than 30 years. She is a graduate of USF with a degree in journalism. She has been a freelance writer for The Osprey Observer Newspaper since 2008. She also the Executive Director of Center Place Fine Arts and Civic Association. She is a dog mom to her rescue dog, Marshall. She loves being a part of the Brandon Community and she loves sharing positive news about our community.