PITTSBURG — People can see the glow of the Thompson’s home from three quarters of a mile away.
Each year the display becomes larger and larger — over 20,000 lights and 100 hours of labor put into this year’s display.
The tradition started six years ago when Josh Thompson was in high school.
He helped a family, Beverly and Mick Chouinard, with odd jobs.
Mick really liked Christmas and would have an elaborate display in front of his home on Catalpa Street.
“The main reason this started is Beverly Chouinard and her husband really loved Christmas,” Thompson said. “That really rubbed off on me.”
After her husband died, Beverly Chouinard wanted to keep the tradition alive, and asked Thompson to put up the decorations — including a set of 16-foot candy canes Mick made.
When Beverly Chouinard died in June 2016 she left Josh the set, which now stands in his yard. Thompson said it is his favorite.
“It is rewarding to put them up for my display after putting them up for her so many years,” he said.
Thompson, who lives at his parent’s home, began his own elaborate display of glowing lights and Christmas characters.
Then it started rubbing off on the neighbors.
“We call it the three-house quarter mile Christmas Wonderland,” Thompson said.
His neighbor, Carolyn Vediz, was a little saddened when she heard that Thompson will be moving to his own home — she said she was worried he might be taking the display with him.
“The display is just awesome,” Vediz said. “It gives me a warm and happy feeling, you can even hear music playing.”
Thompson isn’t moving far, only a mile down the street and he is taking the tradition with him, but his father said the display will not end at his home as too many would miss it.
“They get out and take picture of their kids, it’s really been fun for this time of season,” John Thompson said. “People say no one puts lights like this up anymore.”
He said he’s not sure if he could make the display as large and great as his son’s as it takes a lot of time to put it all up.
“He spends about 100 to 150 hours every season to put it all together — a labor of love,” John Thompson said.
He said he is glad to see this side of his son because in high school he was a football player and now he works for Crossland Construction.
“He’s a rough and tumbley football player kid that has the heart for making Christmas decorations,” John Thompson said. “I love to see that softer side, it warms my heart.”
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.