Bright lights and high prices: How Central Illinois families are spending their money on Christmas displays

Local News

"It can easily be $10,000 - 20,000 with a big home and more lights."

CENTRAL ILLINOIS, (WMBD) — When you watch a home light display, you’ll see thousands of lights twinkling to the music, but what you don’t see is the hours of design, set up and money homeowners everywhere are putting in.

“It’s really grown since I started. I know a lot of people in the area are starting to pick it up,” said one homeowner, Motter.

Home light displays are gaining traction, and local homeowners explained why it is their new obsession.

“I’ve actually met quite a few friends that are from different parts of the country and around the world,” said Josh Rossman, a local homeowner.

Rossman joined the community three years ago at his home, located at 1501 W. Circle Rd in Peoria.

“We have about 7,000 lights total and each light was hand pushed into a prop or window matrix,” said Rossman.

He said it is a tedious job and everything is done by hand.

“All the black strips you see were purchased by a manufacturer from online, and we pushed every single pixel into each hole you see here,” said Rossman.

He said it is definitely not a cheap hobby.

“Altogether, we have about $3,500 into the show total, but it can easily be $10,000 or $20,000 with a bigger home and more lights,” said Rossman.

Another local homeowner, David Motter, took on a larger display with more than 35,000 lights at his home on 412 E. Lake Shore Dr. in Edelstein, IL.

“If you are starting from scratch, you know you can spend easily 30-to-50 hours on one song. If you have a song you want to reuse and have added elements to your display, that’s a lot quicker, probably just three-to-four hours,” said Motter.

For Motter, he said the display is a family tradition now and creates memories every year.

“My wife helps, she does most of the placement of the props, the boys like to put all the zip ties in,” said Motter.

Rossman said the goal is to spread holiday cheer to the community.

“It’s not for myself or my family, really, it’s for the community. All my neighbors drive by when we start putting up lights and just say they are so thankful that we put the lights up every year,” said Rossman.


Other local holiday light displays include:

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