Whether you’re speeding down I-95, flying thousands of feet in the sky or just walking down Prior Road in Wilmington, Delaware, you can’t miss The Smiths' home this time of year.
“We just started putting lights up, the more I put up, the better it looked,” said Tom Smith.
Tom, with the help of his wife, kids and brother-in-law, Ralph, strings nearly 700,000 Christmas lights in all directions over his two acre property: across the roof of his rancher, through the trees and all over the lawn. Some burn white and most twinkle. There are tall candy canes, light-up nutcrackers and inflatable Christmas bears and all bring joy to scores of people every holiday season.
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Visitors who stop by to take in the spectacle — which takes two months to build and comes with a $4,000 electric bill — have the chance to take a stroll to the North Pole and meet ol’ Saint Nick (played by Ralph). It’s so popular Delaware State Police have to direct traffic around the neighborhood.
“This time of year with everything I think sometimes we forget, we're so used to giving big presents that we forget about other people's feelings and with all the stuff going on in the world I think this is just beautiful," said Denise Buemi. She insisted her family stop, while on their way home from a wake, for a little cheer.
Tom, 54, started building the display 33 years ago after losing both his parents within months of each other. He wanted to put up lights so bright, his parents could see them from up above.
“That’s my boy. That’s what I think, that’s what they say,” Tom said.
The Smiths welcome visitors every night, for free, until around 11 p.m. The address is 1902 Prior Road, Wilmington, Delaware.