Man’s Christmas Lights Display Has Clark Griswold’s Beat

Thomas Terry’s Christmas lights display has Clark Griswold’s beat.

ByABC News
December 17, 2015, 5:24 AM

— -- Thomas Terry of Decatur, Alabama has been decorating his home with Christmas lights since 2005.

That first year he had about 3,000 lights, but as he kept developing his hobby he kept adding lights. This year, there are more than 30,000 lights on his one-story home, and it’s become a local attraction.

Terry has said his display beats that of Clark Griswold, the movie character whose had 25,000 lights on his home display in National Lampoon’s "Christmas Vacation."

Terry casually mentioned the Griswold reference during a recent news interview. Since then, he told ABC News in a Monday interview, "it kind of took off."

His display features lights strips as well as other elements such as trees, arches and faces. It’s all animated and set to music that can be heard either by tuning in to a radio station or from speakers erected outside the house, Terry said.

"It’s grown over the years," Terry, a systems administrator, said. "People kind of will start driving by early to see if I’m out in the yard setting it up. I guess -- a few people kind of expect it every year, too."

This display – which goes up around Thanksgiving and down the first week of January -- has never been more popular than it is now. A neighbor reported that cars were lined up “all the way down the street” on Saturday night, prompting police to come out to make sure traffic wasn’t blocking any driveways, Terry said.

Last week two church buses carrying children and young adults also visited.

"They were all getting out and taking pictures,” he said. “There might have been 50 people standing out there at one time.”

His hobby isn’t cheap. Controllers cost about $250 each, and electricity has run him about $300 extra a month to run the display. Despite that, he feels good to know his work is appreciated and there’s “actually people out there that’s really enjoying it and ‘oohing’ and ‘ahhing’ and talking about it ... .”