For the last 30 years, a couple weeks before Thanksgiving, Altoona resident Edward MacGregor begins getting out the decorations for his Christmas-light display. A few days after Thanksgiving, he has most of it assembled, but is still tinkering, deciding to add a display here or fixing broken lights there.
The Christmas display has at least 2,000 and 3,000 lights and nine displays, MacGregor said. The electric bill runs about $70 for December.
He does it for other people to enjoy it and for himself. He enjoys Christmas, he said.
Mirror photo by Amanda Gabeletto
Pictured here are some of the decorations around the home of Altoona resident Edward MacGregor.
"It gives me something to do," he said. "It keeps me out of trouble."
He scaled back this year so as to have more space between the displays on about an acre of land where one can see a Nativity scene, an inflatable polar bear, a horse and carriage and more at the 927 Mountain Avenue home.
He still plans to add to the display. He has a movie feature that projects Santa flying around.
The display also includes a red,white and blue tree in honor of veterans.
A United States Army veteran, MacGregor served in the Vietnam War from 1968 to 1971, he said. He also served two years in the National Guard.
MacGregor retired from PennDOT in 2004 after 35 years. For the last seven years, he has driven school bus for the Student Transportation of Altoona.
A "good many" people drive up to check out the light display, he said.
MacGregor tears it all down in January, and gets it ready for next year, sanitizing, drying it out, checking bulbs and packing it away for next year.
"I try to keep everything in tune," he said.
He and his wife, June, do the decorating inside the house together, but the outside is a one-man show.
"He does it himself," she said. "He's the decorator."
Despite the utility bill and storage boxes invading their basement space, June, who retired as dietary aide at Bon Secours Hospital in February after 33 years, appreciates the display, calling it "beautiful."
"He's a kid at heart," she said. "That's it. That sums it up."
Mirror Staff Writer Amanda Gabeletto is at 949-7030.