A long-time Grand Cayman holiday tradition was renewed last night when Rex and Cecile Crighton turned on the power to their annual Christmas light display at their home in Spotts.
For about 30 years the Crightons have dazzled residents with their increasingly elaborate Christmas displays.
However, their house across from Ocean Club condominiums, suffered extensive damage as a result of Hurricane Ivan in September.
Many of the Crightons’ Christmas decorations and lights, which took up the majority of space in the four-car garage outside of their home, were destroyed during the storm.
‘We also had some very expensive animations that we lost,’ he said. ‘We’ve had to throw much of it away.’
Mr. Crighton said their home is ‘far from being finished’ as far as the storm repair work goes. He had received many telephone calls from residents who were wondering if he and his wife would put up the display again this year. ‘It seems to bring a lot of joy, especially to the children,’ he said.
Although they had to throw away hundreds of thousands of lights, Mr. Crighton said some of the old ones were salvaged.
Cecile Crighton, who was the impetus for the start of Christmas light tradition when her children were young, was able some order new lights from the United States to replace the ruined ones. ‘She deals with some of the biggest manufacturers in the US,’ said Rex.
One of the difficulties with putting up the display this year is that Ivan killed or damaged many of the trees on the Crightons’ property where some of the lights were placed in the past.
Rex said he was expecting some large replacement palm trees, but that they got stuck in a container at the port in Miami and subsequently died.
Another tree shipment will not make it here until January, so some of the new lights the Crightons purchased will have to wait until next year before being displayed.
Still, the Crightons are glad to do what they can, in spite of their post-Ivan circumstances, to bring some Christmas spirit to the residents of the country.
‘People tell me it brings them joy,’ said Rex. ‘One little boy said to me yesterday that it gave him hope for the future; if it can do all of that, I don’t mind putting them up.’
This year’s display is smaller than in recent years, but still includes tens of thousands of lights, a model train display, an animated nativity scene, a decorated miniature old Caymanian house, a giant snowman and much more.
Normally, the lights would have been turned on around the 15th of December, but difficulties in getting power back on at their property delayed switching them on until yesterday.
Residents are free to walk through the cordoned areas of the Crightons’ yard to view the decorations, which are turned on nightly through January 6 from nightfall until midnight.
One little boy said to me yesterday that it gave him hope for the future; if it can do all of that, I don’t mind putting them up– Rex Crighton