HUDSON – The more than 30-foot-tall blow up snowman in the backyard already had made the Cherry Street home of the Bear family a holiday landmark for many Hudson residents.
This year, though, the family took their festivities to a new level, rigging their home with well over 40,000 lights programmed and synchronized to a nearly hour-long playlist of holiday music.
“I think he just wanted to change,” Meg Bear said of her husband, Charlie, in a recent interview with the Community Advocate. “I said it was time we have music and my husband is nothing if not obliging.”
Display inspired by Santa’s Village
The Bear family moved to Hudson roughly 12 years ago and quickly dove headfirst into large-scale holiday decorations.
After two years, they upgraded to their behemoth snowman, which Meg described as a “troubled child.” He’s been torn on multiple occasions, and chipmunks most recently chewed a hole in his fabric while he was in storage. But neighborhood children still regularly ask if and when he will go on display each year.
Though the snowman became a familiar sight long ago, 2021 marked the first year of this synchronized light display, coming after the family became inspired by similar displays at the Santa’s Village theme park.
“We saw it, and I was like, ‘We need to do that,’” Meg said.
“I thought it was really stunning,” she continued. “…And I just thought it was something neat that we could do.”
The display itself is programmed through a system called xLights. The specialized lights come in strings of 50 or 100 units. However, they must each be individually placed into the props, such as talking Christmas trees or singing ornaments, that make up the dynamic display.
Charlie spent the fall working on those props, popping in lights while in “boring meetings” and taking a few days off work around Thanksgiving to then install the props on his house’s front façade.
Four family friends spent one Sunday helping create their display.
“It was a team effort on some parts,” Meg said.
How to watch the display
The Bear family’s light display runs nightly on the hour between 5 and 8 p.m. The show itself is roughly 50 minutes long, with a 10-minute break at the end to encourage guests to disperse.
“They’re very gracious,” Meg said of the family’s neighbors. “Everyone seems to be really excited about the change.”
That being said, she asks those interested in watching the display to park at the nearby Cherry Street park and walk over to the house.
“While we do love our neighbors and they’re really tolerant, we don’t want to upset them,” she said.
As for the future, the family said earlier this month that they plan to run this year’s display at least through the new year.
From there, though, they’re not sure what’s next.
“He’s on the fence,” Meg said of Charlie. “I think that he should [run the display next year]. After the amount of effort and funding he spent on this I’d like to see him do it until he dies. But who knows?”
“Enjoy what you get when you can get it,” Charlie said.