For Doug and Mary Smith, of 6928 Cahill Ave., Christmas decorations are serious business.
Throughout the past 25 years, the Inver Grove Heights residents have treated their outdoor Christmas display as a twinkly undergoing not for the faint of heart.
And rightly so. Every December, their yard hosts a myriad of holiday lights that includes five automated reindeer grazing on the lawn, three Christmas trees in the bay window, a row of oversize candy canes and Santa Claus himself riding a train across the roof.
“We like the holidays,” said Mary. “We like people to enjoy it.”
Creating this much Christmas magic is a major commitment. The Smiths begin preparing for the holiday season almost a year in advance, by going shopping for the following year’s décor on the day after Christmas. Then, Doug spends weeks perfecting the display, finally setting the yard alight on either the Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving.
Fortunately, Doug and Mary don’t have to go it alone. Their annual holiday yard makeover is a family affair, with their daughter, Danyell Lundell, and her husband assisting in the decorating process. The Smiths also share their seasonal spirit with the neighborhood, as many of their neighbors on 69th Street adorn their homes in a similar manner.
The Smiths' Christmas decorations are a serious commitment, requiring multiple bodies, weeks of work and, on average, a $100 monthly increase in the family’s electricity bill.
So, why do it?
“For me, it just brings cheer,” said Lundell.