Joey Felix may trace the origins of his family’s annual Christmas light display to his childhood, but luckily for him, he doesn’t have to work on it alone.
“I have been decorating for Christmas since I was a child. I think I developed a love for the holidays from my grandmother and mother,” Felix said. “As a little boy I would help them decorate and every Christmas Eve we would outline my grandmother’s entire driveway and sidewalk with luminaries.
“When my wife and I met, I started decorating her house—[this was] about 11 years ago. We did not make the jump to computer animation until 2006, [and] we get bigger every year.”
Fast-forward to Christmas 2011 and the decorations Felix installed have moved far beyond the luminaries along the driveway from his childhood. During the recent holiday season, those who saw the Felix family home on Oliver Overlook in Oliver Place in Dallas saw more than 90,000 lights as part of the entire display, with many of those lights computer-controlled.
“We also have a dedicated 150-amp subpanel with 14 separate circuits to run the display and had to use two additional circuits [this year] for a total of 16 circuits/breakers total,” Felix added. “If we were to light up the entire display, it would pull well over 200 amps. Since we use two to three colors for most display items, you only see about 60,000 lights at a time.”
To get it all put together each Christmas season, Felix estimates an investment of anywhere from 15 to 20 days of at least six to eight hours a day.
“We usually start decorating the first week in November, some years in late October,” Felix said. “As for help, my wife Jenny and I set up the majority of the display. Some of my friends and neighbors will also help with some of the big things one or two people cannot handle. [But] for as long as it takes to set up, it only takes four or five days to take down.”
In addition to his wife, who also works on creating an arrangement for the display, helping Felix with the holiday presentation is 9-year-old son Joe, who helps with some set up, assists with the computer animation aspects of the display and is the voice of the Felix the Cat decoration. Twin daughters Abbie and Mary Beth, 7, test the lights as their parents get them in place.
“We are also very grateful that are neighbors are very cooperative and supportive especially dealing with traffic on some of our busy nights,” Felix adds.
In addition to family pride and personal satisfaction, the Felix display this year has also paid off monetarily. A photo of the overall display was entered in , earning the most votes from Dallas-Hiram Patch readers. The Felixes’ entry earned them the honor of being selected as one of the contest’s 24 finalists—which brings with it $500 to help defray the December power bill.
The family’s display could pay off even more. Patch users nationwide can vote once a day for their favorite entry, .
Winning the top prize for would mean a lot to Felix, as he’s a sixth-grade teacher at .
“Being a schoolteacher, I have seen firsthand the effect of state budget cuts,” he says. “From furlough days, to downsizing schools staff and increasing class sizes, and the need for school resources. It would be great for Paulding County to win and be able to use the unexpected money on things they otherwise could not."
Those interested in supporting the Felixes and helping Paulding County Schools win the grand prize can visit deckthehouse.patch.com. Individuals can vote once daily through Sunday, Jan. 8, at 11:59 p.m.