Garner Cleveland Record

What’s Christmas without some lights?

Russell Adkins’ home on 5819 Old Stage Rd. is lit up during the Christmas holidays. Many passersby take photos of his house.
Russell Adkins’ home on 5819 Old Stage Rd. is lit up during the Christmas holidays. Many passersby take photos of his house. jalexander@newsobserver.com

If you’re driving on U.S. Highway 401 and turn left onto Old Stage Road after dusk going south, you might see a glow from Russell Adkins’ house.

Adkins lives a little more than a mile down after you turn, but he has so many Christmas lights in his yard, they almost light up the immediate area. Nearly every part of his yard – trees and bushes – is covered with some type of design and assortment of different color lights. Some of his lights are custom-made.

The lights on his roof flash on and off. An elf emulates pouring water on his lawn. And a Santa Claus light design waves at cars passing by. Adkins started doing a big display three years ago, and each year it has gotten much bigger.

“I started with one elf, and went from there,” he said.

Said his wife Windy Adkins, “He’s gone completely nuts with it.”

Adkins, 49, has lived in his house since he was a small boy. He’s raised his own family there.

“I’ve always been big on Christmas, so I just tried to put some stuff out and I add to it every year,” Adkins said. “Somebody might have had a bad day at work or somebody may have not had a chance to do there’s, so that’s why I do it.”

An electrician by trade, it took Adkins more than a week to put up his Christmas lights this year.

On some nights, he said, traffic begins to line up on the one-way street, as cars either drive by slowly or pull over to the side to get quick pictures of his house.

Having so many lights doesn’t come cheap however. Adkins said during the Christmas holidays his light bill will be about $250 a month. Most of his Christmas lights are light-emitting diode or LED, so he’s able to save some money. If not, his bill could reach $400. Nonetheless, he does it to put smiles on faces.

“I just love people coming together with family and friends and being able to share things with people,” Adkins said. “There’s nothing better than a happy kid on Christmas.”

Every Christmas Eve for the past few years, he puts on a Santa Claus outfit and waves at cars driving by. They honk their horn. He said one year, while he was waving, a car pulled up across the street. A family of three – a mom, dad and a 3-year-old girl – got out the car and walked over. The little girl ran to Santa’s arms.

“There’s no better feeling than that,” he said. “To see the smile on her face. That’s what it’s all about.”

Cindy Honeycutt, who owns the Holiday Light Store, along with her husband Lin, said Adkins is one of her biggest residential customers. She and her husband also have big displays in their yards.

“It’s a hobby,” she said. “Like Rusty, he’s already thinking about next year.”

Adkins said his display will continue to get bigger and better.

“It’s just the enjoyment of it,” Adkins said. “I was going to have more this year, but I everything didn’t get made on time. “I got a few more things I want to do next year.”

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