Family’s massive light display expands

Published 10:34 am Monday, December 10, 2012

David and Barbara Phillips' house on Red Fox Drive in Pelham features tens of thousands of lights. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Pelham residents Barbara and David Phillips had visitors asking when the family’s massive Christmas light display would be illuminated before the Thanksgiving turkey had been cut.

“I’m a big believer that there shouldn’t be any Christmas before Thanksgiving,” Barbara Phillips said. “So we don’t light our decorations until December 1 each year.”

But the December lighting date doesn’t mean the Phillips wait until Thanksgiving to start putting their holiday decorations up.

“We started putting them up in September,” Barbara Phillips said with a laugh.

After weeks of preparation time, the family lit their largest Christmas display yet, casting a bright glow around their cul-de-sac on Red Fox Drive and beyond. This year, the family added a large hot air balloon, pink flamingos and “more lights in general,” Barbara Phillips said.

“I’m not sure exactly how many lights we have right now. We stopped counting at 50,000, and that was a few years ago,” Barbara Phillips said, noting the family reorganized the display this year to neaten things up. “I counted 12 Santas out there.”

The light display is so massive, the Phillips’ next door neighbors have thrown in the towel, opting for a single lighted sign pointing to the Phillips’ house reading “Green with envy.” Last year, the sign read “Ditto,” and next year’s sign likely will read “This is getting ridiculous,” Barbara Phillips said.

While the Phillips’ goal is to add to the display each year, they may have to start decorating the back yard next year, she said.

“I don’t think we have any more room in the front yard,” Barbara Phillips said with a laugh. “We may have to decorate more in the backyard next year.”

When the lights are taken down after Jan. 1, the family carefully boxes and labels the decorations and places them in a shed in the back yard and in a crawl space under the house.

“My husband has a system. It all has to go in a certain order or it won’t all fit,” Barbara Phillips said.

Despite the display’s workload, the Phillips said they enjoy the joy the decorations bring to the hundreds of visitors who drive by the house each year.

“We’ve had so many people come by and say thank you, not just kids but adults too,” Barbara Phillips said. “That makes you feel so good.”