Some Red Deerians definitely have an inner elf that shines during the holidays through outdoor and indoor Christmas displays.
Karen Webb said her husband Gary began adding to their outdoor Christmas light display for their grandchildren, but eventually, it became a friendly competition with a neighbour.
“Now it’s about community and making people happy. We have people knock on our door telling us we made their Christmas. When you hear the little kids squeal, and their laughter, and just the comments people make, it’s quite heartwarming,” said Karen about their display at 18 Ohio Close.
Each year more decorations are added to the display that fills their yard to the sidewalk with lawn decorations big and small, featuring plenty of animals. Santa and his reindeer top their roof, along with an assortment of characters.
Their display will be lit up until New Year’s Day, from dusk until 10 p.m. on weekdays and 11 p.m. on weekends.
She said her husband starts setting up all the lights at Thanksgiving, with help from family and neighbours.
“He’s dedicated. He’s out there for hours hooking it up in the snow and cold,” she said about Gary who has continued the tradition despite health problems he has faced in the past 10 years.
She said now most of the people living on Ohio Close also have outdoor Christmas lights which makes it a beautiful street to visit.
“People add every year which is really sweet. People are getting the bug. It’s quite contagious, it really is.”
On Wednesday night there were a lot of visitors to the street despite the extreme cold, but most stayed in their vehicles instead of getting out to take a closer look at the displays.
She said if someone is unhappy at Christmas, she hopes that seeing all the lights will inject them with a little Christmas spirit.
“What I like best about the display is how it makes people feel. We have a big sign on our house that says ‘joy’ and that’s what it’s about — giving joy to others,” Karen said.
Elsewhere in Red Deer, Vince Jackman and his partner Tom Kereluk, have 133 Christmas trees throughout their home.
Their annual decorating extravaganza started several years ago to raise money for Central Alberta Humane Society by opening up their home to visitors.
So far this season $7,000 has been raised from open houses and an evening fundraiser of wine and cheesecakes.
The house will reopen again on Dec. 30 from 1 to 4 p.m.
“There were about four new designs this year, along with many favourites, and next year we are already planning new ones,” Jackman said about their indoor trees.
“We have a lot of new and repeat clients. And the expression when they enter is all worth the time,” said Jackman, who is also the local humane society’s president.
He said the society operates with a $1.4 million budget, and no government funding, so the organization relies on amazing donors and fundraising events.
“Next year we are planning for bigger and better and hope to raise more money.”
For more information, photos and videos visit Sofia Celebrates Christmas on Facebook. To visit the home email firstname.lastname@example.org.