"Let me show you something,” said Jeff Matthias proudly from the Christmas-light-draped front yard of his home on 28th Street in North Park on November 9. “You're just going to freak out."
Matthias, a serious holiday-house-decorating enthusiast, walked to a side yard filled with stacks of plastic tubs — probably over 100 tubs in all, most about 30 gallons in size. “All these tubs are still full of lights,” said Matthias, who has decorated here for ten years.
In the street, a lift platform on four wheels beeped and reversed in fits and starts as two of Matthias’s friends stood on it, apparently learning to operate it while they installed strands of lights on curbside palm trees.
Last year, Matthias connected ropes to wheels of electric bikes to loop reindeer through the air above the front yard. This year, a new centerpiece is a screen-door-sized, Lite Brite–style illustration of Santa flying an airplane.
The electricity bill? $2000 per season, Matthias said. And add another $10,000 for modifications and other expenses. But, says Matthias with satisfaction, he gets 1000 spectators a night. He flips the switch on Thanksgiving evening.