Bethany J. Royer
PIQUA — It’s been a collection nearly 10 years in the making, according to Alex Smith, 19, and the results are on full display outside his family’s home located at 1245 Riverside Drive, from Santa Claus to candy canes, even an Eiffel Tower — to name but a few of the holiday decor.
“My dad, we started when I was ten, he used to just put things on the bushes and I kind of got into it,” explained Smith of a simple holiday decorating that has since culminated into a Christmas light tradition like no other. All in thanks to the collaborative work of his parents, Richard and Tracey Smith, and his sister Emily.
Of course, the two big questions on everyone’s mind on the annual display, how long does it take to set up and what of the electric bill?
For set up, it took the family an entire Thanksgiving holiday week, says Smith, and as for the electric …
“Makes it go up about $500 for the month of December,” said Smith, explaining that a donation box is available for those who wish to contribute towards the display that draws quite the traffic. “It’ll be backed up all the way down the road sometimes.”
Weather permitting, a next door family member will join in on the decorating this weekend, as Smith explained they are working on a light display complete with music at his grandmother’s house to the east. A tradition that started three years ago thanks to the utilization of a computer program that takes him about a week to create.
Though unsure how many decorations are currently in the front yard, on the house, and in the side yard, Smith pointed out his favorite, a trio of musical white Christmas trees on the front porch. Those trees, along with the other decorations, complete with a few made by the family, will be up from now until Jan. 6, when the teen must return to college after the holiday break.
“It has to all be down by then,” said Smith who attends Ashland University and plays baseball so he can’t return over the weekends to help tear down the display that is stored in the upstairs portion of the garage.
When asked if he would carry on the family tradition when out on his own someday, Smith replied with a smile, “Yes, definitely, (but) the trick is whether to keep it here or move it somewhere else eventually.”
According to Smith, the lights come on about 4:45 p.m. until approximately 11 p.m. or when the traffic comes to an end.