Christmas Hits Tennessee in 8-Acre Display

Chad Barnard has turned his home into a holiday drive-through.

Dec. 11, 2008 — -- For as long as he can remember, Chad Barnard, 38, has loved holiday lights, and has decorated his family's home ever since he was a teen.

"I do roughly about 2 million lights, and I've been doing it for 26 years," said Barnard, who begins decorating his Lebanon, Tenn., home Sept. 1 and turns on the lights at Thanksgiving. "I started when I was 13. When I started decorating, I made the paper when I was 15, and I knew then I was going to do something with it."

Barnard adorns just about every inch of his property with Christmas-themed ornaments, including his 2,000-foot fence. His display drew so much attention that in 2000 he had to devise a drive-through to accommodate all the traffic.

"During the week, I'll average 100 cars [a night]," said Barnard, who does 80 to 90 percent of the decorations himself.

On Fridays and Saturdays, the number rises to 500, with some visitors traveling several hundred miles to see his holiday lights.

Barnard's 8-acre scene includes a bevy of lights and structures -- eight 21-foot trees made of lights, a snow village and several archways.

"I've got like 80 archways you drive through," Barnard said.

To run his extravagant display, Barnard uses 15,000 feet of extension cord, 18 breaker boxes and 300 floodlights.

"It's pretty neat once I get it all out and people are oohing and ahhing," Barnard said.

Barnard's Christmas vision, however, doesn't come cheap. His electric bill hit the $5,400 mark last year but the Tennessee native said it's worth it.

"I just enjoy doing it," he said. "I guess I wouldn't enjoy it as much if people couldn't see it."