BLADENBORO — A Bladen County resident has Christmas spirit to spare.
Ken Chavis goes all out during the Christmas season. The Bladenboro native’s house and yard are lit up with more than 10,000 lights. In fact, Chavis has so many decorations, he uses them on a vacant building and its lawn adjacent to his house, as well as a neighbor’s home two doors down.
“I just like decorating,” Chavis said last week.
Though he stays away from inflatable decorations because they use too much power, the three yards are adorned with chasing lights that give the sidewalk the illusion of a runway, nativity scenes, wooden reindeer bearing red bows, and candy cane markers. Every tree on the block is strung with white lights, as are the five or six arches that welcome visitors onto the property. Chavis hand made the arches and wrapped each one with white lights. The whole operation is bordered with sidewalk lights shaped like candy cane arches, Christmas tree ornaments, or snowflakes.
“I’m not even done yet,” Chavis remarked, gesturing at a 30-gallon tub sitting on his porch and filled to the brim with more decorations.
Chavis said he starts on the decorating the day after Thanksgiving and just does a little each day. Though he didn’t know an exact number of lights, he said he was “certain there’s more than 10,000.” Despite the high number, his bill, according to the light aficionado, only increases during the holidays roughly $36 over his normal usage.
Going all out for the season is something close to the decorator’s heart.
“My mom used to decorate a lot, and she passed about 10 years ago,” Chavis explained. “I’ve been doing it ever since in her memory.”
The spectacle is hard to miss when driving down Seaboard Street in Bladenboro.
“Sometimes I like to get in my car and just go across the street just to look at it,” Chavis said with a smile. “The lights all blend together, and it just looks like one big glow.”
Though it brings its creator joy, the display attracts attention from others as well.
“People just pull their cars over and take pictures or just stare at all of it,” Chavis commented. “It makes me feel good when people tell me they enjoy it.”
Teed Cain lives in the home two doors down and describes Chavis as “a good neighbor” and the decorations as beautiful.
“I don’t know what I’d do without him,” Cain said, pointing to his own walker. “I couldn’t get out there and do this, so if he didn’t do it, we just wouldn’t have any decorations outside. He’s a good guy.”
Though he has three houses’ worth of decorations, Chavis still plans to buy more.
“As soon as Christmas is over, I’ll go to (discount stores) and buy everything they have,” Chavis said. “You can never have enough decorations for Christmas.”
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.