Pelham family lights up Christmas

The Phillips family is known for their dazzling Christmas decorations. This year, the home and yard are covered with around 70,000 lights. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

The Phillips family is known for their dazzling Christmas decorations. This year, the home and yard are covered with around 70,000 lights. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—If you drive down Shelby County 72 any evening in December, you may notice a glow coming from the area of Red Fox Drive. That glow is generated by the 70,000 Christmas lights that decorate the Phillips’ house through the month.

“I said we would get more than Christmas Vacation,” David Phillips said with a laugh.

The Phillips’ decorations have far exceeded the Griswold’s famous 25,000 Christmas lights, but putting out this many lights each year is no easy task. The entire setup requires months of preparation.

“I started in September, just checking the lights,” Phillips said. Construction of the Christmas setup begins in October and the lights switch on Dec. 1.

This year’s display consists of Christmas palm trees, penguins, Christmas palm trees, flying angles, nine light-up reindeer pulling a sleigh and at least 10 Santas, including one in a hot air balloon.

Collecting 70,000 lights and other Christmas-themed yard adornments did not happen overnight.

“We started (decorating the house) in 1999,” Phillips said. “Each year we would add to it, and it came to this.”

Phillips and his wife, Barbara, are always on the lookout for new and unique items to add to their Christmas decor.

“We hit the after Christmas sales (and) we hit yard sales,” Phillips said.

Visiting the Phillips home in December had become a tradition for many Pelham residents. Phillips said he gets at least 10 visitors every night through December, and often more as Christmas approaches.

“Last year I even had trouble getting to my drive way,” Phillips said, adding he enjoys having visitors and seeing the amazement on children’s faces when they see his home.

This year marks the “grand finale” of the Phillips family’s decorations. After 15 years of dazzling Christmas lights, Phillips said he is packing up the lights for good after this Christmas.

“We’re topped out… there’s limited power,” Phillips said with a laugh.

Check out Pelham’s own Griswolds this Christmas. Phillips said he turns on the lights every night at 5 p.m. and keeps them on until after 9 p.m. through Christmas.