Editor’s Note: We originally published this story in 2016. The Cafarellis have confirmed the display is back for 2019. “I just wanted to confirm that 1601 Bentbrook Court in the back of culdesac does have Christmas display and Santa in the window up. 87.7 FM radio for sound with it. Typically we have him from 5:30-10 during the week, 5-11 during weekends, and all night Christmas Eve.”
Ever wonder what Santa does when he visits? One Champaign family has the inside scoop, and you can see it happen at their Lincolnshire Fields home.
Brian and Katie Cafarelli’s house in the otherwise sleepy Bentbrook Court cul-de-sac lights up the night with its Christmas display. But the reason cars are lining up to see it has to do with what you can see in the window above the garage. Put together, it’s one of the more uniquely decorated homes in the Champaign-Urbana area, and as a result landed a spot in our Champaign-Urbana Christmas lights guide this year.
The Cafarellis placed a hidden camera to capture Santa’s visit to their southwest Champaign home a few years ago, and the video plays in the windows. This year, the video’s sound (including music) can be heard through radio frequency (NOTE: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. The Cafarellis are TRAINED SANTA VIDEOGRAPHERS.) We have a bit of the video on our Instagram.
“We love Christmas lights and spreading cheer. Our display is bright with the goal of making people smile,” Katie Cafarelli said. “We’ve also always told our kids that Santa won’t miss our house because it’s so bright.”
Brian and Katie Cafarelli are parents of two boys, ages 10 and 2. Brian, a college instructor, and Katie, a clinical therapist, have lived in the Champaign area for nine years. The couple purchased the home four years ago, and each year add something new to the Christmas display.
They added Santa in the window last year but this is the first year with sound and music. So you want to know – how is it done? Well, you’d be surprised that it’s not as complicated as you might think.
“The Santa requires a projector, DVD player, frosty shower curtain , and an FM transmitter,” Brian Cafarelli said. “Put all those together and you get a really cool virtual Santa.”
The couple typically has its lights on 5 to 10 p.m. daily, and all night Christmas Eve (for Santa).
So drive by and give your kids a view into Santa’s world.
To get to 1601 Bentbrook Court, take Kirby Avenue to Cobblefield Road. Go south to Bentbrook Drive and go west to Bentbrook Court (those turns are very quick).
Want to learn more about local lights displays? Visit our Champaign-Urbana Christmas Lights Guide.
Do you have a tip about an outstanding lights display in the Champaign-Urbana area? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.