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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Stream of cars drives nightly past ‘peeing’ Santa

Jason Mundell says his holiday display in Spokane Valley has been a neighborhood staple for the past four years. Here it’s shown Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

The drive down South Wilbur Street in Spokane Valley this time of year is pretty bright, with neighbors having decked out their houses with lights, reindeer and Santas.

But one Santa provides a bit of relief, so to speak, from the others.

Toward the end of the block, a pale blue house has a Santa standing on the roof with a stream of yellow lights falling down into a birdbath to fill it with a golden glow. In other words, Santa is peeing.

The idea came to Jason Mundell after he saw a similar Santa “quite a few years back.”

“I don’t know, I just kind of thought about it one day and the wife bought it for me,” Mundell said. “We had a heck of a time finding a small, plastic Santa.”

After finding a suitable St. Nick, Mundell custom-made the display, including the yellow lights and a finishing touch with the birdbath.

“I thought it was kind of fun to do it into the birdbath,” Mundell said.

The display at 1313 S. Wilbur Road has been a neighborhood staple for the past four years, and Mundell said it’s brought people down their street.

“All my friends bring their kids by and look at it,” Mundell said. “I don’t know if it’s real appropriate, but it’s our sense of humor.”

His neighbors seem to agree that peeing Santa fits with Mundell’s sense of humor.

“It’s funnier than heck,” neighbor Nancy Mitchem said.

Nancy and her husband, Shawn, have lived next door for about 25 years. The slightly sassy decoration is just the latest in a string of shenanigans their neighbor likes to play.

“He’s always playing pranks,” Shawn said. “He’s not a Scrooge at all.”

“I’ve always got something in the back of my mind,” Mundell agreed. “We talked about maybe incorporating the Grinch at some point.”

Up the street, Carmen Miller decorates her house every year with a whimsical Pegasus unicorn and Christmas puppies.

“I love the crazy lights,” Miller said.

A lot of people drive down Wilbur during the holiday season to see the lights, Miller said.

With her own flair for the unusual holiday display, Miller is a fan of the peeing Santa tradition.

“I love that,” Miller said. “He has done that every year since we’ve been here.”

Across the street is the largest light display on the street.

John Johnson has been putting up extravagant Christmas lights for decades.

This year’s display includes a vintage Mr. and Mrs. Claus, Rudolph and Frosty the Snowman, along with a horse and carriage and various reindeer.

“This is only half of what I used to do,” Johnson said.

A few years ago someone vandalized Johnson’s decorations, bashing in the windows of a large, lighted gingerbread house and breaking a motorized bear’s neck.

The $600 price tag in damage was discouraging.

So in recent years the 70-year-old has scaled back, not decorating the roof or putting up a light-up candy cane arch.

“It was funny because when it first started it was just old stuff we had,” Johnson said. “Each year you go a little more, a little more next thing you know … it just got out of hand over the years.”

While Johnson may have scaled back, he still loves to see people appreciate his hard work.

“People will come up and knock on the door, and you know it’s fantastic and it was rewarding,” Johnson said. “We’ve had a stretch limo and party buses drive by almost every night.”

Sometimes when he’s in the mood and it’s not too cold out, Johnson will put on his Santa suit and head outside to wait for folks to drive by.

Other nights, Johnson and his wife will turn off the lights in the house and watch people drive by.

“It was just kind of fun to watch the expressions on their faces and the kids would get out, and then they would jump out and take pictures with the kids with all this as the background,” Johnson said as he looked up and admired all his handiwork.