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Lighting up the Christmas season for 27 years
No sooner has Joel DuPlessis removed the poppy from his lapel, then it's time to put up the Christmas decorations.
DuPlessis and his family string garland in the living room and erect their tree over the Remembrance Day weekend so they can dedicate the rest of November to decorating the outside of their Burnaby home.
After all, it's a big job stringing more than 25,000 twinkling lights.
DuPlessis has been building his elaborate display for 27 years. To put it up, he enlists his wife and his 89-year-old father. And he takes a week off his work at BC Hydro.
DuPlessis' background as an electrician may help him deal with the hundreds of metres of cords that power the display, as well as switch boxes that bring life to its animated features, but it doesn't get him a break on his hydro bill. He spreads December's fiscal drain into equal payments throughout the year, and the introduction of more energy efficient LED bulbs has also helped save some money.
DuPlessis says he tries to add new features every year.
"I'm always looking to improve and make it better," he says. "I know it will get bigger but not all at once."
The display has become a tradition in his Central Valley neighbourhood. Cars filled with families roll slowly by every evening. Many stop to snap photos. A donation box collects money for BC Children's Hospital.
"Kids are our future and we need to help see that they get there," says DuPlessis.
The display runs until Jan. 6, when DuPlessis breaks it down and packs it up in an ordered fashion so it will be easy to re-erect the next year.
And DuPlessis doesn't see that routine ending any time soon.
"It's a lot of work," he says, "but when you see the people smiling and taking pictures, you begin to see that it brings happiness to so many. Isn't that what Christmas is all about?"
The DuPlessis family light display is at 8222 Burnlake Dr. It runs every evening from 4:30 to 11:30 p.m. until Jan. 6.