This grandfather is brightening up the lives of many this holiday season with his shining house covered in over 1.5 million lights.
Keith Mitchell, 64, decorates his Suffolk, Virginia, home each year as part of a family tradition, Good Morning America (GMA) reported. Last year, he told GMA he put up 1.2 million lights but bumped it up to 1.5 this year after his granddaughter asked for 100 more lights.
“It’s all about my granddaughter for me,” he told GMA about 6-year-old Samaria Johnson. “Plus, it makes a lot of people happy,” he added.
People from neighboring states come by to get a look at the light show, including North Carolina and Missouri. Last year, the display attracted 200 to 500 visitors every night.
Mitchell and his wife, Tammie, have witnessed some emotional events at their light display. One year, a man proposed to his girlfriend. Another year, a woman whose daughter died from cancer was moved to tears when she saw her daughter’s favorite color.
“Her daughter was a cancer child and she died. Her [favorite] color was purple. And for whatever reason, my husband hung up purple colors that year. That woman came through, and she saw the purple colors and started to cry hard,” Tammie recalled.
The couple has been committed to bringing the display to life every year since 2018. The display takes around three months to get up, but they have the help of family, friends, and neighbors.
They started this year’s display on Sept. 1 and finished putting it up the weekend before Thanksgiving. As far as creative inspiration goes, Mitchell said he gets inspired as he hangs.
“I just see what I want in my mind, and I just go for it. I don’t plan anything. I just envision it,” he said.
The Mitchells’ have added a special touch to this year’s light display. They’re raising donations for the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughter, where Samaria stayed for three weeks after she was born.