If you think the outside of Brent and Julie Horsley's home at the corner of 125th Street and Commercial Avenue in Sedgwick is decked out for the holidays, you should see the inside — with some going as far as stating that it looks like Christmas "vomited" in there.
Suffice it to say, the Horsleys — and their house — are full of Christmas spirit, with their outdoor light display drawing attention from neighbors and community members alike every holiday season. It's become a popular attraction since the Horsleys moved to town six years ago and something they look forward to putting up each winter.
"The main reason I do it is for the kids and my wife loves Christmas. One of her favorite holidays is Christmas," Brent said. "We used to live out in the country for a long time and you couldn't really put anything up, like the blow-ups, because the wind would just blow them away and destroy them."
Now, the blow-ups go up along with nearly 8,000 other lights (icicle, bulb, etc.) each year — with the collection continually growing. Julie noted she gets yelled at by her husband and family for constantly adding to the display, often through post-Christmas sales. The former even joked that he would need the electric company to come install a dedicated utility pole at the house for their display.
Outlets are at a premium given the current size of the display, but it has grown this year, as well — with an inflatable skiing Santa (driven by a reindeer in a motorboat) being the newest addition.
"That was our Black Friday shopping right there. That's the only thing we went and got on Black Friday, if that tells you anything," Julie said. "Presents are the least of my worries. People have made that the number one priority anymore and it just irritates me."
Given the years the display has been put up, there has been a lot of customization that comes with that, as well. For instance, there is a string of lights that reads "Merry Christmas Sedgwick" up in the Horsleys' yard that Brent made out of ground wire for a fence he installed for their dogs. He has also refurbished the Santa and sleigh that sit atop their garage, while both Brent and Julie took the time the make an all-white lighted tree (which the blow-ups congregate around) multicolored, per their preference.
"My husband and I sat there, took each bulb out and put a colored bulb in each one of those. It took us a good day and night," Julie said.
Additionally, both Brent and Julie's family collections have become a part of the display. Brent's father was a woodworker who also had some unique, custom Christmas decorations and some plastic Santa figures — now 30-plus years old — that go out with the rest of the Horsley's decorations (and often draw comments).
With the help of their kids, Brent noted he can usually get the full display (which fills 10 of their 20 total totes of Christmas decorations) up in a few days. This year, that task was complete by the first weekend of December.
Once those lights go up, Julie noted they have to drive around the block a couple of times to see the display from multiple angles — with that appreciation something of a whole family tradition for the Horsleys.
"Every year we'd find out where all the good lights were. That was our family outing. We'd pile in the van and go look at lights," Julie said.
"When I was a kid, we used to love going and checking out all the lights and stuff," Brent said. "I think that's the main reason why we do it."
Putting smiles on the faces of their neighbors and children is another reason the Horsleys continue with their display, constantly hearing comments from people looking forward to it and wanting to know what will be added in a given year.
Sedgwick Connect will host a Christmas Lights competition on Dec. 19 and all residents with their lights on from 6:30 to 9 p.m. will be entered. While the Horsleys said they plan on doing something special that day (possibly scheduling a visit from Santa) that is not a motivating factor behind their display.
"We're not in it for the competition," Julie said. "We just love doing it and listening to people rant and rave about it."