Those who drive down Lincolntonâ€™s Aspen Street this holiday season may find themselves hitting the brakes and staring in awe.
There, on the side of the road, is a testament to Christmas decoration excess: a mobile home with manger scenes, green wreaths and thousands of Christmas lights filling its yard.
â€œI always liked to decorate for Christmas since I was a little girl,â€ said Elaine Burgess, owner of the impressive home and yard. â€œI just enjoy doing it.â€
Burgessâ€™ husband was the first one to give her lights and ornaments to decorate the yard, telling people â€œI buy her decorations, and she puts them up.â€
The couple started the Christmas tradition in the late â€™80s, and it has been gaining steam ever since.
â€œWhen we first started we just had a few lights, and we added more each year,â€ Burgess said.
Her husband, Don, passed away in November 1998 from a heart attack just after putting up Christmas lights one evening.
â€œIf it was up to me, these lights wouldnâ€™t be up here because it reminds me too much of my husband,â€ Burgess said.
Her son, Michael Patterson, has since taken over the tradition. As a special addition this year, Patterson has put a sign dedicated to the memory of his father and grandparents under a Christmas tree near the road.
Decorating for this yearâ€™s Christmas spectacular began in late October when the family put up lights and lawn figurines.
â€œWhen heâ€™s not on the job, he works on it and keeps going till Christmas,â€ Burgess said.
Burgessâ€™ grandchildren are also eager to set up decorations
â€œI look forward to it every year,â€ said Justin Patterson, a grandchild.
Despite all the lights, the Burgessâ€™ power bill doesnâ€™t increase much during the holidays.
â€œPeople think it goes up, but it doesnâ€™t. Maybe increases $10 to $15 a month,â€ she said.
That extra $10 to $15 a month provides a beautiful Christmas show for locals â€” a circular drive was constructed just so passersby could stop and enjoy the view.
â€œItâ€™s busy just about every night. On the weekends, we have about three or four cars a time stop,â€ Burgess said. â€œThat is what Christmas is â€” seeing all the kids and older people enjoy.â€
Visitors include people of all ages from nursing home residents to elementary-school students. Burgessâ€™ favorite visitors are the children.
â€œThat main thing is seeing all the kids enjoy the lights,â€ Burgess said. â€œWhen Don was living he would make a big pot of hot chocolate for everyone.â€
For those who do enjoy the site, young or old, Burgess has set up a donation box. Funds go to helping with power bills and buying additional decorations.
â€œEvery little bit helps,â€ she said.
The donations, however, arenâ€™t that impressive. This year the family has only received $13 in cash. There was also a gift card worth $20.
â€œThe note said the admirer came out of her way just to see the lights,â€ Burgess said. â€œI thought that was awfully sweet, and I wish I knew who it was.â€
Her son plans to continue decorating, something appreciated not only by his family, but also by Lincolnton residents who enjoy the holiday tradition.
â€œI donâ€™t think there is anyone in Lincolnton that doesnâ€™t know where I live,â€ Burgess said. â€œIâ€™ll tell people â€˜I live where all the lights are on Aspen Streetâ€™ and they know exactly where I live.â€
This lit up manger scene is made complete with Joseph, Mary, wise men and, of course, the baby Jesus. Chris Dean / LTN photo
by Maribeth Kiser