By Jim McGregor/Special to Langley Advance Times
Robin Girouard has been decorating his yard for Christmas for more than 20 years.
Why does he do it?
“I used to help my dad put up Christmas lights when I was a kid,” he explained.
“He just put lights on the house and his bushes, but that’s a Christmas memory I have. Now, it’s go big or go home, I put up a little more each year.”
Girouard and Michele Frenette live at 27079 24A Ave. in Aldergrove, and their yard is the highlight of the street.
“We came here from the Green Timbers area of Surrey four years ago and always had a big yard display there as well. I had some larger displays there like a nativity scene. But we had to adapt to the smaller yard we have now,” he explained.
“We like making the neighbours smile and when we first moved here there was hardly anyone doing this. But now, we see a few springing up each year. My next door neighbour says if I have more displays I can use his yard.”
Girouard estimates he has a little more than 12,000 lights on his lawn and he’s always looking for more ideas.
“He never stops looking,” said Frenette. “We went out to Chilliwack this year and picked up some snowflakes. And he always slows down to look at other displays to get new ideas and he’s still got more pieces in the crawl space to go up.”
Girouard doesn’t buy everything.
“I have built quite a few of my display pieces. Sometimes I will see something and I know I can build that better and cheaper than I can buy it. As it is, it takes over 40 hours to put it all up and another few hours to replace bulbs and maintain it. But it feels awesome when it’s all done,” Girouard said.
“The little boy across the street keeps dragging his dad over here to look at the lights. That feels good.”
It is pretty much a one-man operation.
“I offer to help each year but he declines,” said Frenette. “So my contribution is pulling it all out, putting it together, and then putting it back when the season is done. He knows where it is all supposed to go, so I help by staying out of the way.”
She added with a smile how much she loves to be in on all the appreciation the neighbours show each year.
“The kids love it.”
For the past two years their display has won runner-up for the Walt Levy Light-Up Aldergrove contest. The late Walt Levy was president of the Aldergrove Fair Society when it was formed in 1984 and was responsible, along with many other notable Aldergrove volunteers, for starting many of these annual events.
The light-up Aldergrove contest was named after him following his passing in 1999.
Girouard is optimistic.
“Like I always say, ‘maybe next year’.”
But winning first or second, doesn’t really make a difference to him.
“I’m just happy to brighten up the season, for everybody who sees our display, and hope I can warm everybody’s heart during these tough times,” he concluded.
Girouard and Frenette are looking for a name for their display.
Their decorated home will be on the Aldergrove Star’s list of places to see, and they’re hoping people will stop by and give them some suggestions.
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