Yard Ornaments More Than Decoration for Tripp Family
Through Christmas lights, the Tripp family sought refuge during trying times and is now sharing for everyone to see. Joey Tripp says Christmas has always had a special meaning for his family.
"My mom and dad actually got married on Christmas Eve."
Every Christmas for the last 28 years, the Tripp family's yard has lit the way for Santa Claus.
"My dad was always putting up Christmas lights," said Tripp. "He always made it special for me and my siblings."
In 1995, at age 10, Joey was diagnosed with bone cancer. All he wanted for Christmas, was to see Christmas lights.
"From then on, the decorations got bigger and bigger."
Joey says the task of putting up the display gave his family a since of purpose at a chaotic time.
"It distracted us from the ever increasing doom and gloom of fighting cancer," said Tripp.
Joey's been cancer free since 2001, but this Winter Wonderland continues to grow, building to more than 100 thousand lights.
"Each and everyone of these lights is a prayer that's been answered," said Tripp.
Prayers the Tripp family now share with the community.
"It's not just a family tradition, it's a community tradition now. There are a lot of pieces in here that are either the community has donated or we have bought from the community."
Every year, the family hosts nearly 5,000 visitors. Many yearly regulars.
"A lot of people come to see what's new in the yard, what's different," said Tripp.
And every year, only one thing stays in its place, The Nativity Scene, front and center.
"But everything else gets moved, rearranged," said Tripp. "We try to keep it new and exciting for all the visitors who come every year."
Now, with prayers answered, Joey shares those little lights that shined so bright during his family's darkest time.
"Seeing the kids wait patiently to go see Santa Claus and then once they finish seeing Santa Claus go through and see the lights, and the Oohs and Aahs."
The Tripp family says it has also become a Thanksgiving tradition to test the lights on Thanksgiving night.
The Tripps have a lot of holiday activities scheduled including visits from the jolly one himself and a living Nativity with their local church, Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church.