by Stephen Dafoe
Chris Mercer and his family have won the annual Best Lights contest four years running. After his first two wins he stopped entering his 93 Street home, but friends and neighbours kept putting his name back in the contest. It is not surprising; given the number of lights and Christmas items Mercer puts on display for the community to see each year.
“It started when I was a kid from my father decorating,” Mercer said, adding the popularity of his display has kept him at it. “Now hearing the stories from people driving by [that they] want to drive by the Christmas house. I just enjoy doing it.”
Mercer said he and his family start the project right after Halloween, stringing the many lights and setting up the many displays. Though the project often starts before the snow flies, Mercer said he doesn’t light things up until the Town lights up during the annual Lite Up the Nite celebration.
But it isn’t just knowing people are enjoying his display that gets Mercer up on the ladder each year, it is the enjoyment he gets from the entire holiday season “[It’s] family getting together from December 1st until after Christmas,” he said. “It’s the decorations. Everything. I don’t even know where to start.”
Mercer said he had a number of items already when he first started decorating for Christmas in a big way. The rest he has accumulated over the years, including a number he has created himself. “To build some of this takes quite a bit over the last six years we’ve been decorating,” he explained, adding his favourite is the North Pole scene he created this year. “I just had an idea and had a little help from a local sign building place.”
The Morinville resident doesn’t expect everyone to go to the lighting lengths he and his family do, but he would like to see more Morinvillians decorating for the holidays. “I would love to see every house on this street decorated,” he said. “Just one string of lights would be awesome.”