Homeowner Explains Lack of Annual Holiday Light Show Decorations
A Charlottesville Christmas light tradition is over - at least for now - pitching a popular destination filled with sparkling lights back into winter darkness.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A Charlottesville Christmas light tradition is over - at least for now - pitching a popular destination filled with sparkling lights back into winter darkness.
But before you say “bah humbug” about the loss, you need to understand why and how some new good may come from it.
Jeffery Norford's Christmas light show drew a crowd of more than 14,000 people last year.
But now, after 25 years, he wants to take some time for himself while still giving back in the holiday spirit.
Norford is known as the Santa on Mountain View Street, where his house with its thousands of decorations lit up the neighborhood.
“Every year we'd put up more and more lights until it wound up being 60,000 lights, and we had over 300 inflatables last year,” Norford said.
But all of those lights meant hours of work, thousands of dollars, and time away from family.
“I set it all up myself,” Norford said. “I wound up spending about $5,000 last year, not including the, what, $1,200 to $1,400 electric bill.”
So now he's made the choice to close up the Santa house and leave the lights off this year.
“It was a hard decision to make, but I had to do it,” Norford said. “Just needed a break - I mean, I'm here from October to January I have to be here every day.”
Neighbors feeling left in the dark say they're sad to see the display go.
“We got so used to it we were surprised, we went to drive by it and it was just not lit up,” Jim Igoe, a neighbor, said. “You can tell the kids love it, people come around, they really enjoyed it.”
But Mountain View Santa is still looking out for the kids, and he’s using his holiday spirit in another way.
“I figured this year instead of people donating, you know, to my display, they could put the money to some good use and help out the kids,” Norford said.
This year, he’s raising money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
“I mean they would give to our Santa cause, it's just like it's Christmas to the kids,” Norford said.
But don’t be too upset about the lack of twinkling lights this year. Norford says there's still a chance the lights will be back on full display next year.
Click here if you want to donate to his fund.