Creating a Magic Christmas
Walter and Jackie Monkhouse started making Christmas light displays 12 years ago at their Alexandria, La., home and they've built on it each year.
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Walter and Jackie Monkhouse are serious when it comes to holiday lights. They started creating elaborate Christmas displays 12 years ago at their Alexandria, La., home and they've built on it each year. Three years ago, they added animation to the mix and really got things moving.
"Last year we had over 100,000 lights. We also use many special effect lights. Probably the most crowd-pleasing lights are the 300 strobes that vary in size and intensity," Jackie Monkhouse says. The display now requires more than three miles of wire, a virtual control room for the choreographed light show and a train. Walter even broadcasts music synchronized to the light show over a low-power FM frequency.
Walter wraps old toys with rope lights and hangs these from two oak trees. He also built a Christmas train that travels through a forest of Christmas trees. Other elements include a bubble machine and handmade quilted pieces. "We are really proud to say that Magic Christmas is designed for people of all ages, from toddlers to the seniors, there is something for everyone," Jackie says. "For example, the toys bring back treasured memories to the older visitors. Everyone loves the magic."
Despite all the complexity of their amazing display, Walter and Jackie set it up themselves. They get started in September and are ready to dazzle the neighbors by early December. Jackie estimates 10,000 or so folks come by to view the display by the time it's retired for the year shortly after Christmas.
Jackie says they do it all just for the sheer joy of spreading holiday cheer — a feeling she hopes is contagious.
"We get the satisfaction of knowing we are giving something to the community. We know we are contributing to Christmas spirit. In addition to this, we get a sense of joy watching the old and young enjoying the creation we developed. Maybe we will motivate others to create their own display."
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