Olney family makes Christmas a little more merry
Oak Street may not have the biggest houses in Olney, but it has the brightest.
With its four laser projectors, capable of displaying images to the beat of music, hundreds of LED lights and clever use of permanent and temporary structures, Al and Edie Acuna’s home has become an attraction in the past few weeks.
“We’ve been doing it for three or four years, but I don’t think we’ve done it this much. Kids enjoy it. I’m going to go bigger on my blow-ups next year,” Edie said. “People think it’s nice and pretty with the laser lights. If I had my way, then I would have it like this every day of the year We make the best of it.”
Al said putting up this year’s lights was not a one-day project and was more of a week-long family outing with their son, Michael, and nephew, Johnny Esparza, lending a hand.
“They came and helped us out,” Edie said. “I got up on the roof this year, which I got lectured for. It was a bit high, but I did it in my flip-flops. I got brave and started waving, but my son and nephew didn’t think it was cool.”
Edie said decorating her home was an afterthought following the loss of her father in October, but she found catharsis in methodically arranging this year’s display.
“I lost my dad in October, we buried him the 20th,” Edie said. I really didn’t want to mess with it, but it makes other people happy and helped me out. I like it and the kids enjoy it.”
Edie and Al jokingly said their goal is to create a home reminiscent of the Griswold residence from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”, but will stop short of a display so bright it blinds the neighbors.
“I want to work my way there and slowly I am,” Edie said. “... It’s mostly for the public and for the children. If it makes them happy, then I’m happy.”
While far from the only home in Olney decorating for the holiday season, the Acuna’s home is the most vibrant. That vibrancy is magnified due to many of the properties surrounding their home, apartments and rental properties, do not typically decorate for Christmas.
“It’s like no one does it anymore,” Al said. “You can drive a block and maybe find one house and that’s it. When I was growing up, it was almost every house. The whole town was lit up. Now, people don’t want to mess with it. We went out the other week and a whole block without seeing one light, then we saw some and got excited ... We get excited and we get ideas of what we can do next year with different lights.”
Whether due to the economy, lack of enthusiasm or lack of time, the Acunas have no issue with being the beacon of Christmas spirit for Olney and look forward to being that lighthouse for years to come.
“I love it. It brings the kid out of me,” Edie said. “You can keep driving and it’s dark. It’s like no one has that spirit anymore, but when you do see one you’re like ‘Oh my gosh, here’s one just like us.’ You get excited. As long as I’m living and still able to do it, then I’m probably going to keep doing it, until I blow the entire town’s electricity out.”