Head east toward Interstate 135 on Broadway (from downtown Newton) during the Christmas season and there's a house you can't miss — the house of Bob and Jan Swickard.
For more than 20 years, the Swickard's Christmas light display has been a fixture at the corner of Logan and Broadway — with enough wattage to light the way for Santa's sleigh on his annual trip — and keeps getting bigger.
"It's probably grown over the years. He keeps adding to it," Jan said.
This year, one of the newest fixtures is a homemade tree with blinking lights, something Bob himself made to add to the display.
"We saw something similar to that at the fair a couple of years ago. I didn't want to give $600 for one, so I made one out of an old TV mast. It's stuck in our flagpole socket," Bob said.
Getting some lights on closeout to string through the tree meant that Bob was able to complete the fixture without putting that much money into it.
Customization is something of a theme with the Swickard's display, as there are multiple handcrafted "Merry Christmas" signs among the thousands of lights.
Jan has a hand in the lighting of the display as well, often very literally.
"She relights everything," Bob said. "If something's dead, she's liable to bring it in here, work it over and put new lights on it."
"Most of the reindeer, we've had for years and years," Jan said.
Originally, the Swickards' display started with a few reindeer, some trees and a nativity — which remains Jan's favorite part. She said she hopes that inspires conversation among families with young children who drive by.
There's no question the Swickards' house gets its fair share of visitors (and comments) during the holidays, either. Once Bob put the new handmade tree up this year, he said some visitors came from down the street to check it out immediately — and that's just the start.
"When we're out there, you'll see cars slow down. You know they're looking at it, and some people will stop," Bob said.
For the Swickards, setup of their display began the weekend before Thanksgiving this year — getting some assistance from their grandson. While Jan admitted she was a little concerned about her ability to help get the display up this year, having gone through a hip replacement, she said it was "good exercise."
Along with their display outside, the Swickards noted the inside of their home gets pretty festive, as well — as Bob said "everywhere you look there's a Santa Clause."
Even so, the Merry Christmas signs and a lot of the artwork and other decorations illustrate why the holiday is important to the Swickards, as well as what they hope their light display evokes among those who visit.
"It's just to share the season with everyone," Jan said. "I hope that it will bring a smile to someone's face and that they notice the manger scene and the reason for the season; what we celebrate is Christ's birth."