GET YOUR SUNGLASSES READY,
THE ROSER’S CHRISTMAS DISPLAY IS BACK!
BY GREGORY ROSER
We have been decorating our home for Christmas for almost 35 years, and this year it is the biggest and brightest it has ever been. I have been decorating the outside of our home when time allowed, but skipped several years due to work and family demands. Thanks to my recent retirement, this year will be the first in many years where I have decorated for two consecutive seasons. The joy on the faces of children of all ages is why I spend several months per year preparing, installing, and dismantling & storing my display. This year I started on September 1st repairing, re-painting, and re-wiring four 4-foot tall concrete carolers that were salvaged from my friend John’s house after a fire. While working in my garage in 90 degree heat with the sweat rolling down my back, I tried playing Christmas carols to cool me off. It did not help with the heat, but it got me in the spirit. John’s mother purchased these carolers in the early 1960’s, and were cherished by her for many years. Since his mother’s death, he gave me Peggy’s carolers on the condition that they make an appearance in this year’s display. I named them Lucy, Ricky, Fred & Ethel and they are prominently displayed on my front steps. Also new to my display this year are other decorations donated by friends who no longer used them. There are two 9-foot spiral trees new this year donated by my friend Dave. In addition, Dave gave me four 12-foot spiral trees that will make an appearance next year after I repair them in the off season. My sister-in-law Elizabeth donated two 5-foot tall plastic carolers that I re-painted and re-wired. Their names are Thurston Howell III and Lovey Howell. They join their fellow castaway carolers Ginger Grant, Mary Ann Summers, Jonas Grumby (Skipper), and Roy Hinkley (Professor). Not to be forgotten is the 8-foot tall snowman named Gilligan, who watches over all of them.
Other named characters on the lawn are the penguin family Larry, Moe and Curly, complete with their igloo, and polar bears John, Paul, George and Ringo riding on a Flexible Flyer sled that I salvaged from a neighbor’s trash. I made many of my wooden displays over the years including the 8-foot snowman, 4-foot tall candy canes lining my front walkway, a nativity scene, the star at the peak of the house, and some more carolers. In addition, there is a Santa train & caboose, a palm tree, a dolphin, a seal, an angel, Santa, reindeer and a sleigh complete with presents, and more snowmen. All thirty windows on the front and both sides of the house have electric window candles. I changed these bulbs to LED’s as they are cool to the touch and are safer next to the curtains. Even the inside of the house is littered with extension cords. My biggest challenge this year was getting the lights on my almost 20-foot tall blue spruce tree. I used an eight foot step ladder and a 10-foot pole with a hook on the end and I barely reached the top. When I planted this tree 25 years ago it was three feet tall and was much easier to decorate. When I planted it years ago, June said she knew why, so I would have something else to put lights on. Even the detached 2-car garage has lights on it. There is holiday music playing, but not too loud as I do not want to disturb the neighbors, who for many years encouraged me to decorate.
Many have asked me how many lights there are altogether. I stopped counting after 10,000, so I estimate maybe 15,000 to 20,000 in total. Last year I started my transition from incandescent to LED lights. The C9 style multi-color LED bulbs on the house closely resemble incandescent bulbs, and they consume 85% LESS electricity. The white miniature LED bulbs on the bushes consume approximately 80% LESS power. My electric meter used to spin like a circular saw, but it is now a bit slower. With the savings in electricity, my new lights should be paid for in another year or two, and then I will reap the savings. At the peak of consumption a few years back, running the lights would add $100.00 PER WEEK to my electric bill. Thankfully, it is much lower now, and I do not have the fear of overloading circuits. Extension cords are all over the house and lawn like spilled spaghetti. When it is time to put everything away, the cords and decorations are meticulously tagged and labeled so I can make sense of it all next year. I drew a map of the house and lawn so I know where everything goes. As far as storing all this stuff in the off season, it goes in the loft of our 2-car garage, in the shed, in the basement, and in the attic. Someday I may have to store some decorations in the rented garages where our Cadillacs Rosie and Gloria reside.
Santa scheduled his visit this year for December 17th from 4:30 to 6:00PM, to the excitement of many neighborhood children. Gifts were given to the children, and a few pretty women sat on Santa’s lap too! Donations are accepted for NJ Institute for Disabilities (NJID) www.njid.org again this year. Last year I collected almost $400.00. The display at 83 Paterson Road in Fanwood is lit every day from the Friday after Thanksgiving until January 8th, 2017, from dusk to 10PM. I traditionally leave it lighted overnight from Christmas Eve through Christmas Day.
There may be bigger and better displays around, but how many can proudly say it is one man’s effort? I do this all myself, with no help from my family or friends, even though it is graciously offered. Everything is well planned out and installed with precision. I will continue doing this as long as I can climb a ladder because the excitement and astonishment on children’s faces is priceless.