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Halloween twist lets B.C. family get a big jump on Christmas decorating

Nightmare Before Christmas theme means Langley home’s annual Christmas display started in mid-October
As soon as the family’s holiday display was up in mid-November, children started dropping off letters for Santa. (Special to the Langley Advance Times)

The O’Grady family of Langley City has their big Christmas display up again this year, but with a slightly spooky twist.

“This year we knew we’d go even bigger than we’ve gone in previous years. So, to get ahead we decided to have a Nightmare Before Christmas theme for our Halloween display,” explained Randy O’Grady.

He said this allowed them to put up most of their Christmas decorations, such as Santa’s sleigh and Christmas trees.

“Technically we started decorating for Christmas around Oct. 10,” O’Grady joked. “This Halloween trickery allowed us to be ready for December about two weeks early.”

The Santa Sleigh is new this year, he said, built by O’Grady and some of his employees.

“We went ahead and cut out all the pieces, our production guys put it together, we put it in the spray booth to give it a whole bunch of coats of industrial paints, and it will be our display for years to come.”

The sleigh is on their front lawn under the light-string canopy tree, and the public are welcome to have their photos taken in it.

There are also 47 trees this year all with lights, a gingerbread house, inflatables including a hockey playing penguin, and other delights among the branches.

Keeping with family tradition, Santa’s mailbox is out and accepting letters until Dec. 22.

“We’re well over 100 letters already,” O’Grady said.

It started a few years ago when O’Grady saw some kids putting letters in an old ornamental mailbox in his front yard during the holidays.

When they found letters addressed to Santa, O’Grady’s then young kids encouraged him to send replies.

“We answered a few letters that year and a few parents posted it on the [social media] community page the following year, and it just went viral and all of a sudden we’re you know getting dozens of letters a day dropped in the box, and it was fun,” he said.

The family answered the letters, if the kids provided a return address, but they did more. They delivered personalized replies and small gifts.

When asked what the letters say, O’Grady was hesitant to share due to the risk of scammers impacting the Christmas joy of Santa’s letters.

But he did share one story where a father asked for a bottle of whisky and the new Corvette.

“Santa thanked him in the reply letter and supplied him with a diecast model of the new Corvette,” O’Grady laughed. “We’ll be cute when people get cute with us.”

Nicknamed O’Grady’s Tree Farm, the display is at 20886 45A Ave. It will be up until Jan. 2, and can be visited during day or evenings.

RELATED: LANGLEY LIGHTS UP: Send in details of the community’s best displays

SEE ALSO: Annual Christmas food drive benefits Aldergrove Food Bank for 2nd year

A moving hockey-playing penguin is one of the items on display.
Business owner Randy O’Grady and his family have created a walk-through Christmas display. (Langley Advance Times files)

Kyler Emerson

About the Author: Kyler Emerson

I'm honoured to focus my career in the growing community of Aldergrove and work with our many local organizations.
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