Lizzie Clemons stands in front of her home on 10th Avenue South home in Columbus on Thursday. Clemmons and her son took three days to decorate the house Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff
December 10, 2013 9:48:43 AM
It started small in the late 1990s.
Lizzie Clemons put a few things out in her yard to celebrate the holidays. A Santa Claus. A wreath. Some lights.
She lives at 820 10th Ave. S. People in the neighborhood liked her Christmas display. Some brought children by. This made Clemons happy. So she added more and more.
Today, it takes Clemons and her son three days to get everything put in place. They usually start the week before Thanksgiving. The home lights up their Southside block.
Clemons has so many Christmas lights strewn outside of her home that she doesn't know how many Christmas lights she has strewn outside of her home. Her guess: More than 10,000.
Her son, Carlos, puts them up. It's a chore. But he doesn't mind.
"It gets her in the spirit," he said. "And she likes getting other people in the spirit."
They said they have seen cars parked three-deep waiting to idle by in the evenings.
While Carlos puts the lights up -- including the ones stretched across the roof -- Lizzie Clemons handles most of the decorations.
She has a different color-theme each Christmas. This year's is blue turquoise. Clemons personally decorated 10 wreaths that hang across the front of her home, as well as all of the garland, which is substantial.
The yard features an eclectic mix of Santa Clauses at work and play. He's riding a backhoe beside the house. In the front yard he's driving a tractor. He's driving a race car. He's riding a motorcycle. ("That's my favorite," Carlos said.) In another spot, Santa pushes a lawnmower.
"Yes," Clemons said laughing. "He's cutting the grass in winter."
There are 23 reindeer, including two on the roof. There are miniature Christmas trees and bumper cars. Toward the back yard there is a giraffe, which stands beside an elephant, which stands beside a very big snowflake.
And it's all lit up at night.
Some people, Clemons has heard, avoid putting up Christmas lights because it might lead to a higher electric bill. To them, Clemons said, "put $5 each month in the cookie jar."
The increase really isn't that bad.
"My electric bill goes up $15 or $20," she said. "But it's worth it."
Clemons is retired. Her decorations, she said, are her favorite part of the holidays.
"I don't even need any gifts," she said. "As long as the Lord gives me my health, my spirit, my life and my decorations, I'm satisfied."
The lights are on each evening from about 5:30 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. During the week prior to Christmas, she keeps them lit until about 11:30 p.m.
Everyone in Columbus, she said, is invited to come by and get in the spirit.
William Browning was managing editor for The Dispatch until June 2016.
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