Woodams light up Christmas

Published 6:41 pm Friday, December 2, 2011

When Irving Berlin wrote the lyric “May all your days be merry and bright” in his iconic Christmas song, “White Christmas,” he might have had the home of Gary and Beverly Woodams in mind.

For the 11th straight year in Bainbridge, the Woodamses’ house at 195 River Oaks Drive is once again festooned with a bright collection of lights, decorations and Christmas music sure to soften even the grumpiest Scrooge’s heart.

Gary Woodams said the display features 55,000 lights, requires 17 electrical circuits and takes more than 100 hours to set up every year. He begins the project each year in October, with the help of a family friend, Deanna Cross, and it’s ready to go six weekends later.

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“When I was a little boy, my parents always decorated and that’s how I learned to love it,” he said. “I just love Christmas and we look forward to doing this every year.”

Woodams began the large-scale decorating approximately 30 years ago when the couple still lived near Newton, Ga. They moved to Bainbridge 11 years ago and have been adding to the decorations ever since.

“We try to make it just a little bigger and better each year,” Woodams said.

Some of the newer additions this year include a homemade lighted carousel, and an original song written by the Woodams and played over a radio channel. For those who choose to get out of their cars and look closer at the decorations, there is a medley of Christmas carols broadcast by speakers.

The Woodamses said it is special to see motorists slow down as they drive by, or get out to take photos of the decorations. They added that they have never gotten any negative feedback.

“Nobody’s ever complained and said it’s too bright or too loud,” Beverly Woodams said. “We’ve gotten people come up and tell us ‘thank you,’ and we’ve gotten thank-you cards from visitors. The really special thing is seeing the faces of some of the kids who see the lights and point and say, ‘There’s Santa!’

“We do have traffic jams out here sometimes,” she laughed.

Gary Woodams said the decorations typically start coming down Jan. 7, following the Christian feast of Epiphany. He does not leave any lights up throughout the year, and the decorations are stored in a special storage area at the home.

“We just like being able to give a little bit of joy,” he said. “There are some kids in the neighborhood who have grown up with the decorations, and there are some ‘big kids’ who love them as well.

“If we can spread a little extra Christmas cheer, then it’s worth it.”

For more information on the Woodamses’ display, visit them on Facebook by searching for “Woodams Christmas Lights.”