‘Tis the season for eggnog, prezzies (as they call presents in England), family, and of course Christmas lights.
While most people put up some sort of lights around Christmas, others take this tradition to a whole new level.
Take Earl Peden, who for almost 20 years has been setting up lights on his lawn at 4905 Straume Ave. across from Caledonia Senior Secondary School.
Peden arranges his trees with flashing lights, has blow-ups of Christmasy images and a plastic nativity setup.
There’s also a glowing giant candy cane fence that has lights timed to seasonal music. “The kids like it, and the grandkids bug me if I’m going to do it,” he says, adding that he has collected so many lights and decorations over the years that some stay in storage. “I have a carport full of stuff that never seems to get out there.”
Until not long ago, Peden had a neighbour, Ross Walker, who would light up his yard with equal brilliance.
“A lot of people used to say we were sort of competing against each other, but that wasn’t the case,” says Peden.
Proof of this lies in the fact that despite Walker having moved to Thornhill this summer, Peden says he “doesn’t feel less inspired.”
“I try to do a big light setup every year,” he said. “One of my sons came in and helped me set some of it up. Christmas is a joyous time,” he added.
Making the neighbourhood merry does come with a cost though. “The wife says it is [expensive], but we’re ahead of the game at the moment.”
“I have them set on a timer where they go on at five at night and come off at midnight.”
His efforts certainly don’t go unnoticed.
“Some people actually come out and take pictures. They have complimented me on how they like it,” said Peden.
Another person who has helped light up the dark days is Dennis Lissimore, a part-time employee for the Terrace Downtown Improvement Area Society.
He spent the latter part of November stringing white lights up and down Lakelse Ave.
One windy and cold Sunday in late November, Lissimore was out with Coast Mountain Wireless employees in -10 C weather as they used a company bucket truck to place lights on the taller trees along Lakelse.
“Yeah, the wind’s a bit colder up there,” says Coast employee Rob Chapman as he takes a break in a coffee shop with Lissimore, both wearing harnesses and planning an ascent.
It’s people like Peden, Lissimore and Chapman, who go the extra mile to get things bright and celebratory for the holidays.