Morgans share the Christmas spirit in huge Cowichan holiday display

Christmas carols wafted out of the garage over a loud speaker on a sunny Sunday morning as Norm and Mary Morgan and their helpers worked to get their house at 2390 Trillium Terrace ready for their annual Christmas light up.

It’s a labour of love for the family.

"We started four years ago to put some decorations and lights up and then all of a sudden we’ve got cars stopping by the house. At first we had two or three, but now they’re lined up," Norm said.

"We had neighbours come down last year. A lady stopped. She had a big box about two and a half feet long and my wife wondered what it could be. It turned out to be a big box of chocolates and it was from neighbours up the street because they wanted to thank us."

But that was not all, he said. "All of their grandkids would come over and say, ‘We have to go down and see that house now, Grandma.’

"We’ve already had people walking by the house asking, ‘When are you going to turn them on?’ My grandson’s here today. We’d have to turn them on for him, even if it was daylight outside."

Mary agreed.

"I think here it was a case of the more the people enjoyed it, the more drive-bys we got, then we were motivated and started adding more and getting crazy," she said.

"We can see people really appreciate it. They come and thank us. Even yesterday we had some people by here asking about it."

Both Morgans enjoy driving around looking at holiday decorations.

"We like to see houses decorated up for Christmas. And when we went out, we didn’t know where to go. We wish there was more here. In Victoria they always used to have a list on the front page of the paper about areas like Candy Cane Lane. People would drive around to see them all," Norm said.

Back in the ’50s and ’60s, whole subdivisions used to light up their houses, drawing big crowds "but, now when we go out here, it’s just hit and miss," he said. "You drive into a subdivision and hope somebody’s got some lights on."

What Norm is hoping is that people will write or email in with their addresses so a list could be published in some way, just so Valley folks could enjoy a colourful drive to see them all.

On Trillium Terrace, the Morgans try to add something new each year to the display.

"We look around and say, we need to do a bit more to that. This year we’ve got some new murals that are pretty nice that are going on the garage doors. One shows Santa with his sack and another shows a nativity scene," he said.

Near the house Sunday, Janna Little and Lisa Adamschek were putting the finishing touches on a gingerbread house they had built to add to the display.

Mary is delighted. "Last year they built the candy canes. It was their first project. They took a long time. They’re beautiful. Then we added ribbon to them this year."

They search for new ideas everywhere.

"We get almost all our stuff online. We’ve got an electric Santa that Richard Mann is going to come and put up on the roof for us. It was from Christmas Done Bright," Mary said.

"You know we get everything on sale. Even then it’s expensive. We go and bargain with the stores. We drive them nuts. But we don’t travel very far on holidays. This is Norm’s thing."

Irene Barker and husband Doug were famed for their display, too.

Their house on Cairnsmore Street in Duncan was always a must-see. Barker used to laughingly say she, too, drove the stores crazy with requests for Christmas items.

It turns out the Morgans know all about that house.

"Norm did her place last year. This year she’s taking a break, but she’s loaned us her beloved Buck. She’s a big part of our life. And we will do her place again next year," Mary said.

Although it goes up fairly slowly, Norm said it doesn’t take long to put everything away.

"I can do it in a day," he said. Mary knows the reason. "He was a mover for 25 years," she said. "He’s very organized. In fact, we would have had this all done before this if not for the snow that fell last weekend."

They’ve been storing it all in their garage but are thinking about renting a storage locker because the gingerbread house can’t be disassembled.

"Then, everything will be safe, too. I keep thinking of those people who lost that Christmas house in Lake Cowichan that was destroyed by fire. It’s all stuff you can’t replace," she said.

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