Christmas lights spark annual battle between brothers

‘Tis the season for sibling rivalry, at least for two brothers living in Silvis, Illinois.  They’re battling over Christmas decorations.

Christmas trees, Christmas lights and a little bit of sibling rivalry for brothers Tom and Bill Mathias.  It wouldn’t be the holiday season with out it.

“We’ve had an ongoing war, but he’s got a first place once, now I got my first place,” said Tom.

The brothers’ holiday competition history goes back ten years, when they competed in a contest in Silvis for the best Christmas decorations.

“The second time we tied it.  Tom got second and I got first place.  Then, after that, the city of Silvis quit the contest,” said Bill.

The competitiveness really took a turn when Bill got fourth, and Tom didn’t place.

“He rubbed it in for several years,” said Tom.

Back then, winners got a ribbon as a prize, but Bill never got one from the city to show off when he got first place.  Bill said he was told he didn’t get his first place ribbon years ago because the city didn’t have money to buy one.

“I never got it so, you know, after that day I kind of slowed a little bit. I always put something up, but I think that’s going to change,” said Bill.

This year, Silvis revived the competition with its first-ever Griswold Award, which Tom took home.  He got more than a ribbon, winning a $25 gift card, a ribbon and his picture on the front page of a newspaper in honor of the display he created on 12th Street in Silvis.

“He’s not happy about it, I can tell you that,” Tom joked about Bill’s reaction to the award.

This year’s award only fuels the fire for next year’s battle.

“Congratulations to my brother but, like I said, it’s on,” said Bill.

“Better get on it Bill, because I’m definitely signing up next year, too. I’m going for two in a row,” said Tom.

You can guarantee there will be some smack-talking, not to mention some scheming.

“He stole three of my Christmas packages out from underneath my tree,” Tom said about his brother.

Both brothers say they’ll start preparing over the summer for the next years Christmas decoration contest.

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