Thursday, December 7, 2023

For some, they’re the ‘Griswolds’ of Leland (and you’re invited to watch)

LELAND—Aaron Talley takes the Clark Griswold comparison with pride.

“His sister buys shirts that say ‘You serious, Clark?” his wife Faith Talley said. “He loves it.”

Add 10,000 more lights to Mr. Griswold’s spectacle and you’ve got the Talley’s Leland light show.

“I probably know the movie better than anyone else,” Talley said.

Christmas in August

Pull into 143 Woodford Road, and it’s clear the Talley’s effort is in another league of enthusiasm.

Preparations for the coordinated light show begin as early as August.

“I start to growl though when they start messing with my pumpkins,” Faith Talley said.

Aaron Talley tries to decorate the most unassuming bushes and trees so as not to distract the fall-lovers around. “I think I counted there’s over 14,000 lights just in these 4 trees.”

“What I try to do is every bush, and the roofline, stuff that doesn’t yell that Christmas lights are on the house in October,” he said. “They go up first.”

In total, Talley strings up 35,000 lights that follow six controllers connected to a computer inside their home.

“There’s pumpkins sitting out in front of all of the Christmas lights so it’s kind of funny,” Talley said. “I tell her after Halloween, all bets are off.”

Looping lights 

Lights are coded to perform according to a Christmas song mashup that Talley changes every year. Sightseers can tune into 89.3, a station the Talleys programmed with a personal FM transmitter that occupies radio waves in a short distance.

Inside, the hundreds of cords fed through the six control units ultimately lead to a computer program which orchestrates the display.

“It tells everything that’s plugged into it when to blink, how to blink, how long to blink,” he said.

For the ribbon display, of which he has two, the bulbs can display any design it’s programmed to.

“Every single one of these 800 bulbs can do any color in the rainbow,” he said.

The display loops the three minute 30 second long Christmas mashup, from 5:30 until 9 p.m., 9:30 on the Fridays and Saturdays through Christmas Day.

All in all, the song and display will loop a total of 1,877 times in the Talley’s front yard before they pack up in preparation for next fall.

Between the couple and their two young children, the attraction that takes several months to coordinate comes down in one day.

“Four people, eight hours, we do it all in one day,” Talley said.

If cars linger outside their home, it’s no cause for concern for the Talley’s.

“Oh there’s people all night, every night,” Faith Talley said.

For the family of four, the more the merrier.

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Johanna Ferebee can be reached at or @j__ferebee on Twitter

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