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Lighting up South Delta
‘Tis the season to be jolly and for many South Delta residents that means making other people smile. Many people put up Christmas lights each year, but the residents chosen for the South Delta Leader’s Christmas lights guide have gone above and beyond.
Residents like Ron and Irene Alcock, two retired school teacher who live on the 5900-block of 16th Ave. in Tsawwassen. Their home is festooned with cheery lights, candy canes, ornamental snowmen, and warm messages to passersby.
“It brings so much pleasure to the kids that it brings us contact with the kids,” explains Ron, who adds that people often come up and knock on his door to say how nice it is that they decorate their home.
It isn’t just Christmas that gets the Alcocks excited. They had 400 children visit on Halloween when they decked out their front yard in spooktacular fashion.
“We wanted to be more involved in the community and this was a good way to do it,” he says.
A few blocks away, Kevin Janik on Ferrell Crescent jokes that he’s competing with the Alcocks for the best Christmas display. He’s been decorating his house since he moved to Beach Grove three years ago and also enjoys the feedback.
“I just like the comments from people and the appreciation I get from it,” says Kevin, adding he received a letter in the mail recently from somebody thanking him.
In fact, his neighbour’s three-year-old boy told him he’s convinced Santa Claus must live in that house.
Kevin says he’s up to 5,500 lights this year, with no intention of slowing down.
“It doesn’t look like that much, but I’m slowly building my collection,” he says, modestly.
Meanwhile, at the house of Jason and Lindsay Dault on Tralee Crescent, a brand new glowing Santa and his reindeer adorn the rooftop overlooking the entrance to their front door.
“My daughter was pretty excited,” says Jason. “She came outside and said, holy smokes!”
The Daults have been decorating their house for the past four years and with three children under the age of four it’s pretty easy to understand why. Jason says he loved Christmas lights as a child and seeing his own children enjoy the display makes him feel like a kid again, too.
One family, however, really takes the decorative Christmas spirit to a whole new level. Rob McLean at the 4900-block of Weaver Drive has been putting lights to Christmas music since 2009. The lights are run though software on his laptop with four light controller boxes, each of which have 16 switches. That allows Rob to turn on or off lights on 64 sets of lights in time to the music of three songs: Jingle Bells, Carol of the Bells, and Dominique the Donkey. Each song takes about eight to 10 hours to program and since he buys new equipment and lights every year, it makes it necessary to reprogram all of his songs again.
Rob says there’s plenty of help from the online community when he runs into snags during the the Do-It-Yourself project.
“I just sort of keep figuring it out, testing it, seeing how it looks like and then trying something different,” he says.
This year’s show features a new eight-foot Seasons Greeting sign, four-foot tall stars and cascading snowflakes.
So, what does his family think of his Christmas season hobby?
“Oh, they think I’m crazy,” says McLean laughing. “They know not to talk to me when it gets close to Dec. 1.”
Aside from programming the songs, he says it takes about 18 hours over the course of three days to put up all the Christmas lights and get them ready for visitors. And much like the other Christmas light enthusiasts, Rob says community appreciation keeps him coming back each Christmas season.
“Last year I had two girls come up to my door and say they like the lights and that means I’m going to do it for another 20 years for sure,” he says, laughing.
The music can be heard on 87.9 FM and runs from 5-10:30 p.m. weekdays and until 11 p.m. on weekends. Rob is encouraging people who enjoy the display to donate to juvenile diabetes research in honour of his daughter Devon, who is a Type 1 diabetic.