Volume 12 Week 5

Tuesday, Jan. 21


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Orléans Ward
Matt Luloff

Beacon Hill,
Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney


(Posted 10 a.m., Dec. 22)
Orléans pair devoted to Christmas illumination
By Fred Sherwin

They are the wizards of wonder, the titans of twinkle and the deans of outdoor Christmas illumination. They are the people who spend hundreds of hours stringing lights, blowing up inflatable characters and creating handmade anima-tions for others to enjoy every holiday season.

They are people like Bryan Getson who started creating his front yard Christmas managerie shortly after Hallowe’en.

Bryan Getson stands in front of his Deavy Way home surrounded by his Christmas light display. Fred SherwinéPhoto

“It takes us three to four weeks to set everything up,” says Getson, who first started decorated his Deavy Way home in Queenswood Heights in 2003. “The goal is to always have them ready the same day as the Parade of Lights. This year we had four or five cars parked on the street waiting for me to turn the lights on.”

Although he gets some help from his wife Tracy, the Christmas display is largely his responsibility while she takes care of all the Hallowe’en decorations.

“She was a bit upset this year because we had some trick-or-treaters came by the house and the first thing they ask is if when are the Christmas lights going up,” chuckles Getson.

When he first started putting up Christmas lights, the couple’s son, who is now 40, had already moved out on his own. In those early years, Getson drew inspiration from a young girl who lived down the street.

“She was about two years old the first time I put up some Christmas lights and she just loved them,” says Getson. “Then the next year she asked me if I was going to light my house up again and so I went out and bought more lights and have been building it up every since.”

The little girl has long since moved away, but Getson still spends hours on his set-up which updates every year with new elements. At the centre of it all is a very large inflatable of Santa’s sleigh with Santa perched on top. It’s being pulled by four brightly lit reindeer surrounded by candy canes and multi-coloured lollipops.

Getson says he does it for the joy it brings other people and for his own love of the Christmas season.

“A lady stopped with her children one year and handed me a card and a box of chocolates. Apparently they she had been out driving around with her kids looking at all the different houses and they liked my place the most. That’s the type of thing that makes it all worthwhile,” says Getson.

Getson’s love of all things Christmas and especially Christmas lights and outdoor decorations is shared by Taylor Pacey who moved into his Valin Street home with his wife Melissa two years ago. Shortly afterwards, their daughter Parker was born.

Like the Getsons, the Paceys divvy up the decorating duties between Hallowe’en and Christmas. The outside of their home is festooned with lights as well as several inflatables and cut outs.

Pacey actually comes by his love of outdoor home illuminations naturally. His father used to set up a massive display on the front yard of their Ste. Thérese Lane home in Convent Glen every year and a young Pacey would help.

“To tell you the truth, I can’t remem-ber a year when I didn’t help him,” says Pacey. Father and son still buy each other lights every year, although Taylor has to work around a few restrictions imposed by his loving wife.

“She won’t let me go to Canadian Tire anymore without supervision,” jokes Pacey. “I tried to go with my dad once, but she said she can’t trust either one of us.”

When he put up the lights the first year, his daughter was enthralled by all the colours.

“We would go around and check all the lights before bedtime. It was our little thing,” says Pacey.

Like Getson, random people often leave thank you cards or boxes of chocolates in their mailbox as a token of their appreciation.

“That’s why I do it It’s not just for us, it’s for all the people who drive by and enjoy it with their own kids. It makes it all worthwhile,” says Pacey, who has his own personal reasons for doing it as well.

“I work at a body shop so some days can be pretty rough. But when I come home and all the lights are on it lights up my life. It sounds corny, but that’s the truth.,” says Pacey.

Like his fellow home illumination enthusiast, Christmas is Getson’s favourite time of year.

“It’s the one time of year when everyone comes together and shares the Christmas spirit,” he says, not realizing that he and Pacey and others like them are spreading Christmas cheer one sparkling light at a time.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)


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