WEB EXTRA: Cape Girardeau's Christmas House - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

WEB EXTRA: Cape Girardeau's Christmas House

T.J. Smith and Gene Pyle put up about thousands of lights and more than 150 other decorations every year. T.J. Smith and Gene Pyle put up about thousands of lights and more than 150 other decorations every year.
It first began in 2004 and has grown into lighting up about half an acre. It first began in 2004 and has grown into lighting up about half an acre.
This year they battled snow, sleet and an early cold to put up decorations. This year they battled snow, sleet and an early cold to put up decorations.
Pyle said gloves can make the decorating go much slower. Pyle said gloves can make the decorating go much slower.
Smith said some of his favorite decorations outside include anything animated and/or musical. Smith said some of his favorite decorations outside include anything animated and/or musical.
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

Some time after Thanksgiving you'll start to see the twinkle of Christmas lights on rooftops, decked out trees in windows and nativity scenes on front lawns.

One house in Cape Girardeau, Missouri is on a whole other level.

It started about 10 years ago when the longtime friends decided they wanted to decorate. Beginning with just a few lights, it has grown into a Christmas attraction.

T.J. Smith and Gene Pyle string thousands of lights and put up more than 150 other decorations each year. The house sits on about 1 acre and Smith said they have about a half-acre lit.

They use inflatables, signs, moving decorations and more. That's just on the outside.

Inside the house, every room is decorated.

There's a bright white and blue Christmas tree in the kitchen, along with a different tree in the living room and each bedroom.

In the living room you'll also find a tiny, but large, village. That's where the inside decorations began, Smith said, other than the tree.

Smith has collected pieces for his miniature village for years. He said it's his favorite inside decoration.

In fact, he has more pieces than he has room to put them all.

Every year he switches out the display. A mini TV station for a teeny diner and other endless swaps.

On the outside, Smith and Pyle have their decorations set up in zones 1-3.

They recently moved to mostly LED lights because they're brighter and give off less heat.

"I'm not an electrical-math kind of guy," Smith said, "so I don't take care of that part. I just tell 'em to plug it up."

Pyle is that kind of guy.

He said it took lots of trial and error the first couple of years to get where they are now.

"Once we get everything hooked up, I'll come out here with a calculator and do a calculation on amperage and try to even the zones out as much as possible so they can all carry the lowest load," Pyle said.

He said this keeps it safe and efficient.

This year the weather wasn't feeling very festive.

Pyle said it got really cold, really early, and wearing gloves slows things down.

He said it snowed on them, it sleeted on them and they worked in the dark. It took them about 9.5 hours to hook it all up on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

With so many years and so many lights, the house is bound to draw attention.

Smith said they can hear the traffic drive by. They notice it because it's a dead-end street.

In fact, the traffic has increased over the last couple of years, especially closer to Christmas.

"All the neighbors are good about it though," Smith said. "They love it."

So where did they get all of the decorations?

Smith said they got a lot of it by going to after-Christmas sales and picking up stuff. The rest, people gave to them.

"It's grown into what it is," he said. "Between my roommate and me, accumulating different things, his things, my things, it's become what it is and I always jokingly say if he ever leaves-moves out, he has to leave all of it because I kind of fear for my life when people come by and are looking for the display."

Smith said people start asking about it all the way in October.

If you want to see the Christmas magic for yourself, it's located in Cape Girardeau on Capaha Trail near the country club.

Mobile users can click here to see a slideshow of pictures of the Christmas House.

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