Grandfather’s holiday display boasts 1.5 million lights - all for his granddaughter

Published: Nov. 16, 2021 at 10:19 AM CST
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SUFFOLK, Va. (WTKR) - If you enjoy looking at holiday displays, you might want to add this Virginia town to your list.

Suffolk homeowner Keith Mitchell has been working for weeks to turn his yard into a winter wonderland, and it all started as a labor of love for his granddaughter.

“(He) got down on one knee. Snow was falling on them, and he proposed. Go for it! So he went for it and she did say ‘yes,’” Mitchell said, talking about a marriage proposal he saw at his light display.

Why not? At night, this rather ordinary yard and 2,600 square-foot home is turned into a winter wonderland, boasting 1.5 million lights.

“(It’s) a labor of love for my 6-year-old granddaughter. She asked me for 100 lights, so I gave her 1.5 million,” he said.

The hardest part, Mitchell said, is the colorful bulbs at the perimeter of the yard. It’s a painstakingly tedious task.

“Talk about some back pain the next morning, you really feel that the next morning. But it’s worth it. Deer walks through here, catches it and yanks it,” he said.

What do neighbors think of this gregarious grandfather’s display?

“The adults go crazy. They ask me all sorts of questions. It’s fun for anyone and everyone,” Mitchell said.

He said one neighbor had a sign in his yard pointing to the brilliant display that simply read, “Ditto!”

And what about the tangled Christmas lights or burned-out bulbs?

“See these bags full of lights that didn’t come on this year?” he responded.

Mitchell said he and his helpers spend close to three months to make it picture-perfect.

“It is not me. It’s a we thing, and I enjoy the heck out of it,” he said.

While this Army veteran has a loyal team, his corner yard has become an invitation for spreading neighborly love among strangers.

“People just came by and stopped and got out of their vehicle and said, ‘Can I help?’” Mitchell said.

The creativity just keeps flowing.

“It’ll also be blue and white coming out like this. Each character has his or her own music,” he said.

Persimmon trees in the back, Mitchell said, will create a stage of sorts for Prince.

“My wife says it’s a bit much, but its Christmas and the kids love it, and the adults love it even more,” he said.

Mitchell said he and his friends are still putting on the finishing touches. They plan to complete it the weekend before Thanksgiving.

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