For Doug Chang, the holiday season starts in November, when he begins to take lights and decorations out of storage.
By mid-December, he’s turned his North Delta home into a winter wonderland, complete with more than 40 inflatable holiday characters and thousands of Christmas lights.
“I can say one thing: you’re never finished,” Chang said, standing in front of his bedecked house on Dec. 14. “I’ll probably put … some more lights up today.”
It’s difficult to imagine where he’d put them. The eaves of his house feature traditional holiday lights, and his chimney holds a quaint “Merry Christmas” display. Snoopy and Santa Claus sit perched on motorcycles above his garage, while elf feet dangle from the back of his pickup truck. A 20-foot Santa looms over a plethora of smaller Santas at the edge of his house, and blow-up snowmen, Grinches, Scooby Doos and penguins fill either side of the twinkling Candy Cane lane.
“I try to put it all together so that I’m this tall,” Chang said, holding his hand down near his knee. “And when you look up, you get that maximum Christmas feel.”
(Editor’s note: Since the Reporter visited his home on Dec. 14th, Chang had added several more decorations, including a video projector and screen showing animated Christmas vignettes.)
Chang has been collecting his holiday decor since 2009, starting with four inflatable characters and a just few lights.
“I guess maybe it’s an addiction. I don’t know what it is,” he laughed.
“You just start collecting them.”
Over the years, Chang has amassed a collection that has filled up a large portion of his yard, and spilled over to his neighbours as well. It’s a lot of work to organize, but he doesn’t mind.
“That’s not relevant,” Chang said about the effort to put his decorations up. “It’s got nothing to do with how much time and effort it is. The rewards outweigh everything else.”
“It’s just a fun thing to do for me,” he said. “I really enjoy it when I see the smiles on the kids’ faces.”
“With everything that goes on around us nowadays, to put them in a little bit of a fantasy world when they come by here — it’s great.”
At 63, Chang isn’t sure exactly how many more years his festive scene will grace the corner of 118 Street and 91 Avenue.
“I don’t know when we’re going to downsize, I don’t know when I’m going to retire. It may only be a for a few more years. You never know,” he said.
But while Chang is still at his North Delta home, he’s going to continue to put up the elaborate holiday display every year. And when it does come time to leave, he said, “I’m sure that somebody in the neighbourhood is going to take the torch.”