One house uses 2.5 million lights!
It’s that time of year again when
shoppers flock to stores for the year’s best deals, families prepare to shower
their children with gifts, and home owners across the island adorn their yards
with Christmas lights and decorations.
There are a few people on Grand
Cayman who go that extra mile – or shall we say, strings of lights – to really
give everyone a special gift of Christmas cheer.
The Crighton House
Dale Crighton and his family put on
an entire Christmas show of lights, animated figures and decorations that draw
thousands of people, including some from around the world, in a tradition they
started in the 1970s.
“The public really enjoys it, my
family still enjoys it, and we raise money for charity,” Mr. Crighton said,
adding that his father Rex also plays Santa Claus, handing out presents to
about 400 local children.
Lighting crews begin work in early
November to be ready by the family’s target date of 10 December, when the
switch is flipped and the decorations are illuminated.
It takes about six weeks to put up
all the decorations, according to Mr. Crighton, with final adjustments made in
the last couple of weeks.
“We have two and a half million
lights this year, and animated figures on the lawn with 14 or 15 different
themes,” Mr. Crighton said. “We’ve added
a talking bear this year that tells stories.” Yes, you heard right – 2.5
Christmas joy comes with a price,
however, as all of these decorations are expensive when you factor in labour,
set-up, the animated figures, the lights, and of course the electricity, although
Mr. Crighton said energy costs constitute only about 10 per cent of his total
The Bodden House
Sisters Maxine and Maureen Bodden,
whose home is across the road from the Sunset House in George Town, also put on
a magnificent display of lights and other decorations over their entire yard.
Though it’s an old-time tradition, their effort relies on modern technology for
much of the dazzle.
“Our computerised trees operate at
different speeds, change colours, and feature fibre optics for increased
brightness,” the sisters said. “The LED
lights we’ve used give us a much brighter light, last longer and are more
economical on current.”
Many of the visitors, local and
foreign, have returned year after year to see the holiday display.
“It’s a special way for our family
to give back to the community,” the Bodden sisters said. “Our parents started it because they felt it
was something the community could enjoy.
Before they passed away, they asked us to carry on this tradition, and
so year after year we continue to invest a lot of our personal time and
resources into it.
“It is so worth it when we see the
smiles and look of wonderment on the faces of both children and adults as they
stroll around the displays and behold the sight.”
The Bodden sisters always use the
latest technology in Christmas lighting, and even travel to see the newest
products available to update their displays each year.
“Some people have been coming for
30 odd years to see it, and they send us letters of thanks and emails
expressing their gratitude for it,” the Sisters said.
The sisters will keep the display
up into the first week of January to give everyone a chance to see it. But safety first, they said.
“It’s important for everyone to
stay on the pavers and not try to cross through the yard,” they said. “As you can imagine, there are lots of wires
secured behind bushes and trees that could cause (people) to trip.