Want to see holiday light displays in the Pacific NW? There’s a map for that

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The holiday light display at the home of Dennis Warren, of Marysville, is one of many featured in Jason and Diana Pittman’s project, Pacific NW Christmas Lights. (Courtesy of Dennis Warren)

The season of giving is here, and Everett residents Jason and Diana Pittman have a gift for all: a map of more than 500 holiday light displays across the Pacific Northwest.

The couple began the project as a paper list in 2013 before going digital in 2015. Jason Pittman said he noticed there wasn’t a comprehensive resource for local light displays, specifically after KOMO News stopped doing its holiday lights roundup called “Pool’s Parade of Lights” with weather anchor Steve Pool.

The Pittmans’ project, Pacific NW Christmas Lights, now exists as a Google map, with dedicated Facebook and Instagram accounts and a website (pacificnwchristmaslights.com). The Facebook page alone has more than 14,000 followers, and up until last year, the growth was organic.

“Last year, I got lucky — one of my display owners works for Facebook. He gets free advertising credits,” Jason Pittman said. “He decided because he runs a display that he would use those credits to advertise for me last year, which really helped the growth and the exposure.”

This year, the project has two financial sponsors: a manicurist who has a light display at her house in Covington, and a real estate agent in Portland who shares the Pittmans’ fondness for holiday lights.

“She’s got an active alert, so basically, anytime a house goes for sale on any of the well-known Christmas light streets, she’s on it like fleas on a dog,” he said.

Any financial contributions the Pittmans receive go toward the cost of the website, traveling to visit displays and saving up so the project can have its own app, as well as compensation for the time they put into the project.

The Pittmans both work full time in customer service, and the project is a volunteer effort.

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Diana and Jason Pittman, of Everett, started Pacific NW Christmas Lights, a map of holiday light displays in the region. (Courtesy of Jason Pittman)

“Right now, I’m spending 20 to 30 hours a week on top of my 40-hour-a-week job, just working on all this, so a lot of it is to cover my time and efforts on that,” he said.

A majority of the listed displays are in Washington and Oregon, but Pittman said other locations — like two Canadian provinces — ended up on the map through his networking with display owners.

“I’ve got 700 some odd displays, and 240 people in my display owners group, so a good chunk of the displays on the map I have connections with,” Pittman said.

Light display owner Dennis Warren, of Marysville, said he met Pittman through Pacific NW CLAP (Christmas Light Addiction Program), a group of Christmas decoration enthusiasts founded in 2005. The group’s members meet annually to network, share decorating know-how and trade the holiday decor they no longer use.

“Folks like us that do these big displays like to be noticed, and we like the word to be out and the more word that’s out, usually the better off we are,” Warren said.

New locations are also added to the map through requests. Pittman said he expects the map to include at least 750 locations by the end of this season, but it depends on how much exposure the project receives. Requests can be submitted at the Pacific NW Christmas Lights website.

Though Pittman wants to keep the map focused in the Pacific Northwest, he does have big plans for the future of the project. ​​He’s trying to trademark the brand and make the project into a nonprofit.

Pittman said he and his wife don’t do a full light display at their own house because they are too busy with their full-time jobs and the project, but they do put up some lights.

Pittman is happy the project is drawing attention and excited by its growth, but more than anything he’s glad for a chance to share the holiday spirit.

“The main thing I want to accomplish is spreading the joy of Christmas,” Pittman said. “The more I can get it out there for everybody to see, the better. Whatever upgrades I do, that’s all icing on the cake.”

Grace Gorenflo: 206-464-2720 or ggorenflo@seattletimes.com; . Grace Gorenflo is the Seattle Times arts recovery reporter.