Years of cheer ruined in one night

After 15 years of decorating their home with candy canes, wooden statues and myriad holiday lights, San Bruno residents Clare and Eric Suen are asking themselves if it’s even worth it next winter.

Recently, vandals destroyed and stole the couple’s decorations at their three-bedroom home on Cedar Avenue. The couple found their lawn filled with broken glass, the head of a lit-up soldier lying next to its body and no sight of candy canes that used to hold up the lights near the sidewalk. The decorations have graced the home for the last 15 years.

“No one has ever stolen or broken our things before,” she said. “Now we’re asking ourselves, do we even bother next year?”

The Suens are serious holiday decorators — they spend an entire week weaving old-fashioned light bulbs through their front yard and securing lit-up statuettes that more than double their December energy bill.

“It’s a lot of work, a lot of lights,” said Clare Suen, 44. “We decorate for everyone’s enjoyment. We see what great happiness our home brings to others and it makes us smile.”

The Suens have two dogs, but neither of the animals reacted to the vandals outside.

“It’s usually kids running around vandalizing things,” said San Bruno police Sgt. Tim Mahon.

Suen’s neighbor who lives across the street said she enjoys the couple’s decorations.

“I hope they do it next year, but it’s discouraging to put a lot of work into it and have something like that happen,” said the long-time neighbor, who asked to remain anonymous.

Clare Suen said that although the decorations she lost to vandals were worth only a few hundred dollars, they were irreplaceable.

“[All the decorations] we have, I got it through searching,” she said. “None of the stores carry what they used to. I bought the candy canes at Orchard probably 15 years ago and I haven’t seen them in any store since. It’s just a bummer.”

svasilyuk@examiner.com

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