Photo: Jerry and Deborah Weiss of Sugar Grove, have been decorating their house at 115 Oxford Ave. since 2005, and it gets more elaborate each year. It has life-sized nutcracker soldiers at the entrance and a full-sized sleigh. Jerry built all of the props himself. Children can come and see Santa at the house from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 11, and receive a coloring book and candy cane. There is even a mail box to drop letters to Santa. Photo by John DiDonna
by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—Jerry Weiss loves the Christmas season—so much, in fact, that he’s been in the habit of dressing up both the interior and exterior of his home with a spectacular array of holiday lights and decorations every winter since 2005.
Simply put, Weiss’ extravagant holiday display could evoke Christmas spirit in even the most hardened nonbeliever.
“Growing up, I always liked having the house decorated for Christmas,” he said. “My mom and dad weren’t able to do a lot (of decorating), and my wife and I are both very much Christmas people. Our display grows and grows and grows every year.”
“Grows” might actually be a bit of an understatement. Weiss, a Sugar Grove resident, has developed his holiday home decorations into a sprawling visual spectacle consisting of about 35,000 lights and a ground display.
“I make my own directions, and I start putting down ideas and planning next year’s decorations every year on Jan. 3,” he said. “It does my heart good. I do it for myself and I do it for the kids who want to come see a lot of (Christmas) lights.”
Kids and adults alike will have an opportunity to see those lights up close from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 11, which is when Weiss will host his annual outdoor Christmas event at his home, 115 Oxford Ave. in Sugar Grove.
“Santa comes to our house every year for this event, and everybody is welcome to attend,” he said. “Every child who attends gets a candy cane and a coloring book.”
Weiss said his holiday lights, which are synced to Christmas music, go on every day at 4:30 p.m. and shut off at 10 p.m.
“Everything (in my yard) has a theme. The front part of the house plays one song while the back of the house plays a different theme,” he said.
Despite his extravagant holiday display and heartwarming turn as Santa Claus during his Christmas show every year, Weiss’ best contribution to the spirit of Christmas just might be the Santa mailbox on his lawn.
“I always see the little kids walking down the street and putting their notes for Santa inside the mailbox. I pick up that mail every night and read it, and it makes me feel good because I know I am making kids feel good,” he said.
And Weiss’ unshakable enthusiasm for the holidays is felt by more than just the children in his neighborhood.
“I have neighbors that say when they’re coming home after a hard day’s work, they’ll turn the corner and see the lights (on my house), and it makes their day that much better,” he said.