“It started small, lights on windows and lights on the yard, and every year a little more,” says Earl McElroy Jr.
30-years ago Earl McElroy Jr. started decorating the outside of his Houma home. As the years passed you could say his decorating became an obsession.
Now the McElroy home is decked out from top to bottom with an estimated 240,000 lights. Every year Mr. McElroy takes them down in January and starts putting them back up in October.
Throughout the year the decorations are stored in three storage units that McElroy rents for $200 a month. To top that off, this time of year his electric bill runs $200 to $300 above the norm and that’s after swapping most of the lights out for energy efficient LED bulbs.
The entire operation adds up to $3,000 a year and doesn’t stop outside. Inside Mrs. McElroy decorates every nook and cranny.
“I don’t think they have an idea I have the inside decorated. I like to decorate. I always did and I started putting up a few lights here and there and then he took off with it,” says Julia McElroy.
The McElroy’s have nine kids, 21 grandkids and four great grandkids. They do this for their family, for each other, and for the neighborhood. It’s a 30-year-old tradition everyone here has come to expect.
“Every year you think, I’m not going to do it next year, and a couple of months before Christmas people start wanting to know when are you going to put the lights up so you can’t really stop. What are you going to do with all these lights if you stop?,” says McElroy.
As Christmas approaches most nights Earl McElroy Jr. dresses up as Santa Clause and hands out candy canes.
The McElroy home is located in Houma at 142 Cleveland St.