Cary family's home reflects lasting passion for holiday season
Posted December 21, 2013 8:08 a.m. EST
Updated December 21, 2013 8:14 a.m. EST
Cary, N.C. — Late-night drives to look at Christmas lights are a tradition for many families during the holidays.
Ben and Megan Freeman have been putting together an elaborate light display and illuminating their Cary neighborhood for 25 years.
The Freemans both share a love for the holidays, and they have always wanted their home to reflect that passion.
“Growing up, my parents preferred more traditional Christmas lights. They told me when I had my own house I could make it as tacky as I wanted,” Ben Freeman joked.
Non-traditional and over the top is exactly what he accomplished. The “Freeman Festival of Lights” boasts an impressive 20,000 individual lights, 200 plastic figures, 10 to 20 inflatables and even Santa and Mrs. Claus.
The outside is not the only part of their Hawks Nest Court home to get a holiday makeover.
According to her husband, Megan Freeman goes full steam ahead inside, too. She has already decorated at least a dozen Christmas trees on the inside of their home.
Creating an extravagant light display comes with a hefty price tag. Ben Freeman estimates that he spends between $500 and $1,000 each year on the display. The lights alone add $8 to $10 each night to their electric bill.
“So much comes from soft costs – like the electrician having to come out to fix broken parts,” Freeman said.
Throughout the year, the Freemans dedicate hundreds of hours to preparing and assembling their light display. They start prepping the yard in October and setting up by mid-November. By Dec. 1, the display is completely operational.
Over the years, assembling the display has become a family affair for the Freeman’s and their 3 children, now ages 26, 25 and 21.
“It’s not just a tradition for our family. Some of our son’s friends have been helping us since they were in elementary school. It their Christmas tradition now, too,” Freeman said.
While setting up thousands of lights is both expensive and time consuming, the Freeman’s say it is totally worth it.
“We do it for kids of all ages. When a 3-year-old child looks up at it like it is the most magical thing in the world, you just can’t put a price on that,” Freeman said. “It makes your back and knees hurt a little less.”
Being the Christmas enthusiasts that they are, the Freemans don’t stop with the lights and dozens of Christmas trees.
On Dec. 23 and 24, Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus make a guest appearance on the Freeman’s front lawn.
Law enforcement officials have even been known to stop by for a quick visit with good ol’ jolly Saint Nick.