Holiday Joy

Chris Stephenson and his family at 965 Sandle Wood Drive, Port Orange, in Deep Forest Subdivision have a huge light display every year.

You can’t help but see joy at the home of James and Christina Stephenson, since the word “JOY” is atop their roof in almost six-foot letters.

That, along with 85,000 lights covering every six inches of their home, is a sight to behold. That doesn’t include the large variety of inflated figures, strobe lights, and leaping arches with ongoing visual images and music by radio station 100.1 FM. There are even lights on the ground placed to resemble snow. And you can’t miss the 15-foot Nutcrackers.

The Stephensons moved to their home in the Deep Forest Subdivision in Port Orange nine years ago, coming from Oak Hill. For the last seven years the lights have been up, getting better all the time.

“I get a kick out of doing it, seeing all the children’s faces” Mr. Stephenson said. “They come to expect it every year. I started out with about 40,000 lights and, up to this date, we are about 85,000 synched to music.”

You'd think he'd have problems with his neighbors, but he says no and they seem to just join him even if they can't beat him.

“ I love doing it. The only reason I still do it is because everyone encourages me to get it done,” Mr. Stephenson said. “I don’t have any problems with any of my neighbors, I never have. All my neighbors are great, they all watch out for you.”

Even the raccoons that live in the trees leave the wires alone, apparently enjoying the display.

Mr. Stephenson begins working on his display the day after Halloween and starts taking it down Jan. 1.

“I’m done with it by then” he said.

He plans on continuing as long as he is able, but, at 56, is aware of increasing physical limitations. For now, the increased electric bill is worth the joy he brings to the neighborhood.

The Stephensons have a son, Josh, and a daughter, Summer. Mr. Stephenson is a chimney sweep and owner of Fireplace Services.

Neighbors Staci and James Hagan have an impressive display of their own.

But, Ms. Hagan said, “This family has the most lights on any residential home in Volusia County. When it gets closer to Christmas, he sets chairs out with a projector so kids can come watch Christmas movies in his driveway. Everything dances to music, too. Jim and Chris are well known for their lights every year.

“For Halloween, he had a 34-foot wooden pirate ship in his front yard,” she said. “These people go above and beyond for our community. Just wow!”

The public can view the home from about 6 to 9 p.m. weekdays, later on weekends, at 965 Sandle Wood Drive in Port Orange.

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