Glicks light up yard

By Corey Pride cpride@losbanosenterprise.comDecember 1, 2012 

Ten days before Thanksgiving they start coming out of storage -- lights stretching hundreds of feet, polar bears, movable displays for the windows, snowmen and reindeer.

It takes awhile and a lot of collective family elbow grease, but from late November until the end of the year Los Banos is treated to a free show every night.

Carl Painter began making his property look festive in 1972. Upon his death his daughter, Penny Glick, kept the tradition alive.

"He loved Christmas so he just decided to start celebrating with lights out in the country. He had an acre on Sunset Avenue. Back then it was all orchards, you'd be driving and all in the sudden it looked like Disneyland," Glick said of her father. "My mom would sit in the dark because they could not run any other electricity."

In the four decades since the outside of the Painter home was turned into a Christmas display the light show has changed addresses (now located on 698 Plum Court) and grown. Glick said she adds a few items each year, including her most recent purchase of a mail box that accepts letters for Santa.

For the 40th anniversary, Glick said, she wanted to do something to give back to the community. A toy drive for Kops for Kids and a canned food drive on behalf of the Salvation Army will be held today through Sunday at Plum Court residence.

Glick's daughter, Gretchen Carey, remembers climbing trees as a child and getting an electric shock as she played with the not yet energy efficient Christmas lights. She said she never thought it was strange that her grandparents didn't have electricity inside because she never knew Christmas time any differently while growing up.

Glick declined to give the specific amount of her electric bill each December, but she did indicate it's well under $1,000.

"I will tell you when L.E.D. lights started coming out it was a blessing, so it (the bill) isn't as bad as it used to be," Glick said.

The Christmas decorations require upkeep and replacement. Items fade in color, lights go out and things become worn over time.

Many items in the display are homemade. Glick and Carey said of all the items they treasure the "Ho Ho Ho" sign and the star the most because Painter made those himself.

The Christmas decorations are a lot of work to put up and take down, but Glick said her family has no plans to stop.

Carey said when her grandfather died in the mid 1980s it was important to her and the rest of the family that the Christmas decorating continued.

"We thought if we stopped it was forgetting grandpa," Carey said.

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