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Johnston's River resident uses thousands of lights to help Santa's Angels

Johnston’s River resident Gary Woodhouse gets into a festive mood next to the donations box for his sequenced Christmas lights and music show that he runs from his home. This is the fifth year for the light show, which raises money for the non-profit Santa’s Angels group. MITCH MACDONALD/THE GUARDIAN
Johnston’s River resident Gary Woodhouse gets into a festive mood next to the donations box for his sequenced Christmas lights and music show that he runs from his home. This is the fifth year for the light show, which raises money for the non-profit Santa’s Angels group. MITCH MACDONALD/THE GUARDIAN

JOHNSTON'S RIVER, P.E.I. - Gary Woodhouse wants to brighten up everyone’s Christmas.
That’s clear to anyone who drives by Woodhouse’s Campbell Road residence this month with a vivid display that features thousands of bright Christmas lights sequenced to Christmas music.

This is the fifth year of Woodhouse hosting the vibrant lights show, each year raising about $700 for the Santa’s Angels non-profit charity.

 “It’s going help some families out for sure,” said Woodhouse, who explained his interest in creating the show. “I’ve always liked music and lights…. Back in the 1970s, in the disco days, I took a cardboard box, put Christmas lights inside, put pegboard over it with a fan in front of it and it would put dots on the wall like disco dots.”

He has since taken that experimental DIY approach to the extreme with the Christmas lights show.

Woodhouse first wanted to make a lights show several years ago, but thought the technology involved would be too expensive.

However, that didn’t stop the self-described ”fix-it guy,” who realized he could take a more DIY approach of buying the controller, rigging up the lights and programming them to music for much cheaper.

He’s since put thousands of hours, and too many lights to count, into creating the unique show.

“Every year I add to it, so this year is the biggest I’ve done yet,” said Woodhouse, noting that a lot of the display is created through salvaged decorations, broken lights and other items he either made or repaired. “It’s become a challenge, I like building and creating things out of nothing.”

 

Woodhouse joked that he has “CLD.”
“Christmas light disorder,” he joked. “It’s an addiction to bright lights in dark places.”

The entire lights show lasts about 25 minutes, although spectators can watch for as long as they want, and will run every night until the new year.

It starts at 5:30 p.m. every night and runs until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 10 p.m. on other nights.

Woodhouse said giving any donations from the lights show to Santa’s Angels was an easy choice to make.

Woodhouse said his wife first got involved with the charity several years ago when he was at a job that required him to work on Christmas mornings.

The charity has volunteers going door-to-door with Santa on Christmas morning to spread cheer and give gifts during surprise visits to those in need.

“Then one year I managed to get Christmas off and I went out with them. I thought ‘this is just a great, great charity,’ and I’ve been with them every since,” said Woodhouse.

Those looking for more information on the lights show can visit the Facebook page Gary’s Christmas sequenced lights and music show. Those looking for more information on Santa’s Angels can visit the Facebook groups Santa’s Angels P.E.I. or www.santasangels.ca

Mitch.macdonald@theguardian.pe.ca
Twitter.com/Mitch_PEI

 

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