Over the course of 50 years, Philpot residents David and Diana Craig have become extreme Christmas decorators with more than 200 light displays that consume their front and side yards.

When the couple moved from Newburgh, Indiana, to their 6110 Millers Mill Road home in 1999, the tradition carried with them but it expanded with more property.

"We had quite a bit (in Newburgh) but nothing like this," Diana Craig said. "Our yard wasn't that big there."

After space ran out in their attic, the Craigs added 10-foot by 20-foot shed that's strictly dedicated to storing the displays.

David Craig, 73, said it takes him four weeks, starting about the first of November, to test, assemble and connect the system that runs on 14 timers.

"It comes down quicker than it goes up," David Craig said. "I used to put stuff on the roof but she won't let me get on the roof anymore."

In 2015, David Craig was diagnosed with colon cancer and he thought then his Christmas light streak might have to end.

But the Craigs said their children's families kept the tradition going.

"They decorated and David supervised," Diana Craig said.

There are traditional displays -- some of which are more than 30 years old -- such as Santa, reindeer, angels and soldiers.

But there are the unique ones -- palm trees, Big Bird from "Sesame Street," the Geico gecko and mechanical ones such as an elephant with a moving trunk and mother penguin bending her up and down to feed her baby.

"I've had the gingerbread house (display) since 2000 and it still works," Diana Craig said.

The Craigs' centerpiece is the Nativity Scene that was made by a family member.

"We've had the manger for about 10 to 15 years," Diana Craig said. "It's just now starting to look good and weathered."

The Craigs, whose electricity is supplied by Kenergy, always have the lighted displays up and running by Thanksgiving and keep them up through the first week of January.

"We'll keep them on for four hours every night," David Craig. "…And it costs us an extra $200 to $250 on our electric bill."

From year to year, the Craigs said they never know if they're going to continue their "labor of love" or not.

"Every year, David said he's cutting back or he's going to discontinue it," Diana Craig said. "But it's usually the other direction and a new yard ornament."

Don Wilkins, dwilkins@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7299

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