Steve Broy doesn’t care about the hours of hard labor he and his grown son spend setting up 33 inflatable outdoor decorations in their front yard in Mooresville.
Nor does the cold weather bother the duo while they hang more than 600 feet of LED decorative lights on their two-story home.
December’s electric bill doesn’t phase Broy, either.
He’s just one of many in the region who spread Christmas cheer with holiday light displays and outdoor decorations.
There’s one reason why Broy and his son, Stephen Broy, start working the day after Halloween to turn their Curtis Pond home into a Griswoldian wonderland.
“Just to see the kids smile, I guess,” said Broy. “One kid’s smile is worth it all.”
Broy, 59, has decorated his lawn and house for the past 38 years.
It all started at their Bay Shore, Long Island, home in 1978 with outdoor plastic blow molds and lights, Broy said.
There were a few inflatables as the years went on but that trend hadn’t hit full force yet, Broy said.
When Broy, his wife Roseann, daughter, Kristie, and Stephen moved to Mooresville nine years ago, his decoration tradition followed along with a popular new holiday craze, Broy said.
“The blow ups started down here,” said Stephen Broy, 18.
Today, the family’s lawn is covered with traditional inflatables such as Santa Claus, reindeer and snowmen, but also features modern popular culture characters such as Yoda, Dora the Explorer and Spiderman decked in their holiday best.
Even the home’s roof is not immune.
Santa waves from inflatable race cars up on the second story — a nod to Mooresville’s “Race City, USA” nickname.
Placed between the inflatables are homemade wooden decorations, like the 53 hand-painted stockings bordering the lawn, plastic blow molds and a Nativity scene.
This year the Broys are testing Christmas music to play alongside the decorations, Broy said.
“Every year we try to add a little bit,” said Broy. “It’s getting to the point now there’s not much room, as you can see.”
Just setting up the decorations takes around 40 hours, not counting the work to construct any homemade decorations or to repair older inflatables, Broy said.
Stephen Broy, who handles the yard’s electric components, is his father’s “right-hand man,” Broy said.
“Without him, I don’t think we could get it done anymore it’s gotten so big,” Broy said.
The elements are the biggest challenge to keeping the Broy’s yard festive.
Wind often knocks the inflatables down and rain can trip the power outlets sending a strand of lights into darkness or silencing an inflatable’s fan, Broy said.
As the family has collected more Christmas decorations over the years, storage has become a problem, as well, Broy said.
Broy keeps the Christmas decorations in a specially-made attic over the garage, he said.
They must take down each item carefully or risk a Christmas avalanche, Stephen Broy said.
“It’s a giant jig-saw puzzle to get it up,” said Stephen Broy. “If you move the wrong way, you better run quick.”
There have only been two Grinch-like moments for the Broys regarding their outdoor holiday displays.
Once, someone drove a car through their yard in Long Island damaging their festive set-up.
And in December 2014, the Broys woke to find many of their inflatables ripped apart and knocked over and their decorations destroyed and lying in the street.
One of Broy’s favorite decorations, a wooden sled purchased in Pennsylvania Amish country more than two decades ago, had its rudder ripped off, Broy said.
“Kids being kids” said Broy, of the three teenagers who later confessed to the vandalism that caused about $900 in damages. “That’s not going to stop me.”
After the vandalism, neighbors who had enjoyed the Curtis Pond subdivision Christmas party at the Broy’s home the previous weekend, began donating outdoor decorations so Broy could rebuild.
“The neighborhood really came together after that,” Broy said.
Last year, Broy returned bigger than ever with several security cameras watching over the yard.
Spreading such holiday cheer gets more difficult as time goes on. Broy said he might have another 12 years in him — to hit the 50th anniversary of his Christmas decorations tradition.
Stephen Broy may be ready by then to take the reindeer lead.
“Fiftieth…bigger and better!” Stephen Broy said.
Kate Stevens is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Broy family lives at 191 Scanlon Road in Mooresville.