UNIVERSITY PARK — When the sun’s up, Wayne Smith’s house shows respect to the Man in Red, Santa Claus. At night, though, that home is a sight to see.
“I wanted something a little bit different,” Smith said. “Of course everybody’s seen Christmas Vacation. Clark Griswold may have been part of my motivation. He is my idol, of course.”
600 pieces and counting, Smith is a famous man in University Park.
“Once you see it, and you see it lit, you just can’t help but love it,” next door neighbor Bonnie Morren said.
“It’s the highest compliment that I can get that people enjoy it and that they take pictures and bring their families over here,” Smith said about the constant fans coming by.
If you’re not looking closely, you may not realize this is no usual Christmas display.
“I’ve got Uncle Sam, the Tasmanian Devil, I’ve got Dracula, and of course Moe Howard dead center in the middle of the wise men,” Smith laughed.
Yep. A wise guy with the wise men.
And how do you complete an eclectic collection like this without the original head of State Fair of Texas legend, Big Tex, mounted on the roof over the front door?
“I bought Big Tex back in 1992 from the fair,” Smith said. “Now every year he appears up there, and he is the star centerpiece.”
Smith said the display costs him about $1,000 extra per month on the electricity bill. It takes about a month to put everything up, and though it’s not common, he deals with the occasional anonymous letter of complaint.
With all the hassle, why does he do it?
“Just absolutely love Christmas,” he said. “It’s the only time that we seem to put all our differences aside and everybody’s just happy.”