Todd Engels, Anna resident and Keller Williams Realtor, decorates his house every year for Christmas. The decorations — dubbed “Deck the Falls” — by themselves are already an interactive event.
Engels, a resident of The Falls neighborhood in Anna, started putting his Christmas decorations up on Nov. 1. To put up the display every year, Engels said it takes time and dedication.
“It takes me working on it seven days a week, for about eight hours a day,” he said. “I do this all the way up to Thanksgiving.”
Every year, Engels said he likes to add something new. Currently, the display has approximately 25,000 lights in it. For the display this year, Engels said he’s adding about 1,000. “I’m adding about 1,000 lights this year, with some cool stacked presents,” he said.
Engels said he likes to bring in Santa and Mrs. Claus to kick off the Christmas season every year, usually following Thanksgiving. This year, Engels is following his tradition. He is holding an opening night on Friday, Nov. 24 at 6:30 p.m. The opening night is a chance to unveil his creation to the neighborhood.
Santa and Mrs. Claus will be at the Christmas light extravaganza handing out candy to the children of the community.
The Christmas display also comes with a mailbox near the road. The children of the community can put their letters to Santa in the mailbox, and receive a personalized letter from the jolly man himself.
To make the light show interactive, spectators can turn their car radios to 89.1 FM and listen to the music that is in sync with the lights.
Engels said that every year he collects items for a charity. This Christmas season, he is collecting for Pay It Forward, a non-profit organization out of Anna. The charity collects cans and hands them out to those in need. They also give 100% of any monetary donations.
Engels said he does not consider the labor he puts in on the lights “work”, it is more a labor of love. “I do this to spread the Christmas cheer and to put the smiles on everyone’s face,” he said. “It’s my gift to the community.”
He said he loves the joy that his Christmas display brings to people, whether they live inside or outside of his community. “I have people come from all over to drive by and take in my Christmas display.”