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Lighting up for the holidays

November 26, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - Standing outside her Hagerstown home Sunday evening, Stephanie Huffman could not contain her wide smile. Then she began to laugh.

"I just love that Santa," she said, pointing at one of the many lighted Christmas decorations.

She and her husband, Clarence Huffman Sr., worked for about one month setting up about 50,000 lights on their home, garage and lawn. Then, on Thanksgiving, they flipped the switch.

The Huffmans' home on Crystal Falls Drive is always decorated for Christmas, they said - inside and out.

"We love it. We love doing it," Stephanie said. "It's the birth of our Christ. And it's a tradition."

It's a tradition that almost didn't happen.

After the couple's rented home on Auto Place Road in Hagerstown was destroyed in a 2001 fire, they said they almost gave up the lights for good.

"When we moved here, I said I wasn't going to do it," Stephanie said.

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The couple lived in that home for 19 years, and said it was visible from U.S. 40 and Interstate 70. People often honked and stopped by to see the Christmas decorations they put up for about 15 years there.

The first holiday they spent at their new home, the Huffmans hung wreathes on the windows, but had few other outdoor decorations. Only one of their lighted decorations made it through the fire.

The following year, the couple returned to what they love. They brought out lights, animals, characters with moving parts and eventually a manger scene made from the wood of the barn that was destroyed in the fire.

"We just kept adding and adding," Stephanie said.

This year, Clarence said the couple has about six new lighted decorations on their lawn, most with moving parts, including a carousel, a Ferris wheel and trains. The display also includes a Merry Christmas sign and three new gift boxes.

Stephanie decorated a tree in the front yard with red, white and blue lights as a tribute to U.S. military serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, she said.

"Next year we'll get more stuff probably," Stephanie said. "I'd like to put something on top of the house next year."

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