See the Lights
Meet the Holiday Home-Glower
Like many of the holiday home-glowers in our cheery gallery, Joey Felix has had the Christmas decorating gene since he was a kid. Today, the school teacher and his family charm suburban Atlanta with one of the most festive, animated displays in North Georgia. In 2012, their home-glowing won a national "Deck the House" contest and $100,000 for their local school district. Way to glow!
Our interview with Joey Felix:
First, the two questions everyone asks: Approximately how many lights are in your display? And how long does it take you to put them up?
Joey: A lot of lights! This year we are aiming for 70-80K lights. I am not sure if we can do it, but we intend to try. It takes quite a while to get everything up and the extension cords run. [We] are trying to get it up and running in record time. It is the whole family pitching in, and even a neighbor or two.
How many years having you been putting up your display? How did it become a tradition?
Joey: I have been decorating since I was a kid. But what everyone locally calls "Felix Family Lights", it all started in 2006. In my family, decorating for the holidays has always been a tradition. I think I got the Christmas decorating gene from my grandmother. I always planned to go all-out when I had my own home. In 2006, I met a fellow Christmas lighter online at Planet Christmas and he got me started with computer controlled lights. Once people started to come and see the house we just kept on going. Now it has not only become a tradition for us to do, but the community to come and visit each year. I would be afraid what would happen if we took a year off.
What's your favorite part of your display or what are you most proud of?
Joey: My favorite part of the display is just the fact that I can do so many things by using the computer to control whatever lights I choose. But my wife would want me to say the Elton John we made of lights that moves its mouth to a couple of his hits. It just gives me a great feeling hearing what people have to say about how our display makes them feel and brings Christmas spirit. With things so tough for so many people right now it is nice to brighten up their Christmas a little.
If you were to dedicate your display to anyone or thank anyone, who would it be?
Joey: I would start by thanking my neighbors for putting up with the lights and traffic. And I have a few neighbors and friends that always pitch in and lend a hand -- they should know who they are. If I could dedicate my display to anyone, it would definitely be my mother and my grandmother. They both moved on to a better place in 2004.
Do you support any charity with your display?
Joey: We collect money for the American Cancer Societies Relay for Life. Since we are both teachers, the money goes straight to our school's relay team. We chose this charity because my mother lost her life to lung cancer. Last year we also dedicated a weekend to a local little boy who had a brain tumor and collected for his family. We did very well, and it is something we would consider doing again in the future.
And just for fun... What's your favorite holiday movie and song? Is there any one celebrity you'd like to meet?
Joey: My favorite holiday movie... Hard to make a choice, but I am a huge fan of the 'Santa Clause' franchise with Tim Allen and, of course, the oldies like 'A Christmas Carol', 'It's a Wonderful Life', and 'Holiday Inn'. You would think Chevy Chase and 'Christmas Vacation' or 'Deck the Halls' with Danny DeVito, since I put up all these lights, right?