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Getzville couple continues a 50-year tradition with impressive Christmas lawn display

The big Christmas lawn display at the home of Karen and David Wightman on Dodge Road in Getzville is a little smaller this year.

“Last year the winter was so cold and the weather was so bad, I said, ‘That’s it!’ ” Karen Wightman explains. “I’m 73, my husband’s 75, and it gets hard.”

So instead of filling their lawn and the vacant lot next door with lighted plastic holiday figurines, the Wightmans have cut back to just the area in front of their house.

“We had 300 feet of frontage, all decorated,” she says. “Now it’s 125 feet. It’s probably half of what we had. This is the mini version.”

Gone, she says, are the merry-go-round, the Ferris wheel and the rotating swing set. She packed them off to one of her two daughters, the one who lives in New Port Richey, Fla.

“It looked like an amusement park,” she says.

Karen Wightman’s love of holiday lights dates back to her childhood, when her father would drive the family along his milk delivery route to see the houses decorated for Christmas.

“When I got my own house,” she says, “the first thing I did was put lights on it.”

That was a two-family home on Campbell Boulevard. David Wightman and the upstairs neighbor outlined the house with strings of lights Wightman’s wife got from her father. When they moved to Dodge Road in 1967, she began adding figurines.

“The Santa and Mrs. Claus and the North Pole sign, those were the first three things I bought,” she says. “They were expensive. It was $65 for that Santa Claus, which was a lot in those days.”

Every year she added something more. She began decorating for other holidays, too. She has big displays for Easter and Halloween and smaller ones for Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. She estimates that there are about 300 figurines. She prefers them to the inflatable figures.

“I like the plastic people out there,” she says. “They’re just as pretty in the daytime as they are at night. I do have one blow-mold, and I’ve got a flood light on it to light it up. That runs 24-7 so it won’t be lying in a heap in the front yard.”

When the holiday is over, she’ll stow them all away again. She manages to make them fit in two garages.

“Believe it or not, if you pack things right, you get them all in,” she says. “But it’s getting hard for me. That nice day last week, I said to David, ‘Let’s look at the front yard. What won’t we put up next year?’ And there’s not a thing we could cut. We’ll put it up as long as we can walk to do it.”