To say Sean Sirois likes Christmas is an understatement. One-third of his year is devoted to setting up his Christmas displays — inside and outside his home. Even the Winter Garden man’s buddies call him Griswold.
Sirois begins preparing for the holiday Oct. 1, when he pulls his Christmas decorations out of storage and starts organizing and placing the hundreds of pieces that make up his wonderland of lights, characters and villages. He comes up with a different blueprint design each year.
VILLAGE IN MINIATURE
Inside his porch, Sirois unwraps and sets up 281 ceramic Christmas village pieces in two rooms. One room features a complete village scene with buildings such as an ice cream shop, toy store, tree farm, church and school. Tiny villagers ride in a horse and buggy, shop for candles and baked goods, attend school, and ice skate.
In a second room, Sirois has wood shelves lining several walls, each holding row after row of homes and businesses. About 75% of the structures are lighted; all have the tiniest of painted details.
It takes about a week and a half to set up, he said.
Sirois has been collecting village pieces since he was a child. He helped his mother set up her Christmas village each year — although it never took long organizing her dozen or so buildings. He bought his first village house when he was 23 and slowly has created a collection of storefronts and houses, plus dozens of small people and features such as archways, brick walls and gazebos. He even adds Hot Wheels vehicles to the display.
Sirois said his favorite is a detailed old antique-style storefront with people inside.
“It has a lot more detail put into it because there’s actually people inside,” Sirois said. “When everything is lit up, you can actually see the detail here.”
His most recent pieces are a Mickey Mouse-inspired village home, given to him by a client, and the house from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” a present from his wife.
BABY, IT’S BRIGHT OUTSIDE
Think of a character, and chances are Sean Sirois has it in his yard. His lawn is a vast collection of plastic blow molds and inflatables — from Stitch and Nemo to Tigger and an assortment of farm animals.
There also are Santas and The Nativity and Grinch and inanimate objects such as Christmas trees, noel candles, a gingerbread house and wrapped presents.
Sirois said he gets his love of outdoor decorating with lights and figurines from his father, who made it a tradition with Sirois and his brother.
In all, Sirois’ yard and home are draped in about 301,000 lights. The number continues to rise as he buys and adds more strands, which range from 25 to 1,000 LED lights apiece.
With an electrical display of this magnitude, one would think Sirois’ power bill must be astronomical, but he runs everything in the outdoor display on his generator. Last year’s November and December electric bills increased about $30 each when he ran off his home’s power.
This year’s display is his biggest, he said, with close to 20 inflatables and a collection of blow molds from the 1960s and ’70s.
“I have walkways where you can go to, you walk out of the patio from the seeing the village and through the outdoor patio, and you can go two different sides and between two houses,” Sirois said.
Although Sirois lives on a third of an acre, he shares the back part of his yard with his rear neighbor. Four of his neighbors are good holiday sports and allow him to put decorations in their yards.
“All I have to do is cook them food from my smoker after putting up with my holiday antics,” Sirois said. “They love it. Everybody in my neighborhood loves it. My landlord loves it, and his family looks forward to seeing the display every year.”
Everything is controlled by a remote, including holiday music that can be turned on and off with the push of a button.
Over the weekend, he added three inflatables: Snoopy, a gnome and a rooster dressed like Santa.
Around the second week of January, he will start dismantling his vast display, packing all the pieces in Rubbermaid containers and returning them to his storage unit until the next year. The tearing-down project takes about two weeks. This is the 12th year Sirois has created his Christmas displays for family and friends.