A tip of the Santa hat to Blue Springs resident Steve Steiner.

This is the 31st – and last – year that he’s organized the Chicago Street holiday lights.

What started as a simple display grew and caught the attention of others. Now it involves 60 homes spread out over more than a mile – each display designed and crafted by Steiner. Tens of thousands of people drive through the display each year. And the event is used to raise money for local charities in keeping with the true meaning of Christmas.

It’s been a true neighborhood event, with more than 70 displays. This year, Steiner said it’s time to do other things. It takes a lot of work to get everything up and organized – and keep everything running smoothly from Thanksgiving night through New Year’s Eve, when the lights are up. (The lights are on from 5:30 to midnight. Go to 7 and Walnut and follow the signs.)

Too much of what Christmas has evolved into takes place at the mall. There’s usually room – sometimes not enough – for family and church. But when was the last time Christmas carolers came down your street, knocking on doors and – imagine this – singing for strangers just because it’s that time of the year? This neighborhood effort evokes some of that lovely spirit.

So to Steiner and his many neighbors spreading a little holiday cheer, a hearty thank-you.