Channeling INNER Clark Griswold

The tradition starts the same way each year. Mick and Barb Beaver gather with their family on Thanksgiving night. They all watch “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” before flipping the switch on a Clark Griswold-esque diplay of their own.

“We always wait until we’ve watched that to turn the lights on,” Mick Beaver said.

Filling their southside yard with as many decorations as possible is what makes Christmas so special to the Beaver family. They have been creating their own blissful holiday scene for about 30 years.

“Long enough to embarrass my daughter when she was young,” Mick Beaver said.

Lights line the eaves and edges of the house itself. A wooden “Merry Christmas” sign stands near the sidewalk, a focus of the display.

Santa and Mrs. Claus kiss off to the side, near a flagpole turned into a massive illuminated Christmas tree.

A Santa Claus wearing a lei and carrying a surfboard is a souvenir from Hawaii.

It’s not just their own lights that make the holidays. The Beavers have tried to check out other big displays while they travel, stopping at places such as Dollywood in Tennessee; Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri; and Clifford Mill, Ohio.

“It’s a big part of our Christmas,” Mick Beaver said. “It’s my favorite part of the season. I wouldn’t care if I got any gifts, but I’ve got to see lights.”

Through the Christmas season, a parade of passers-by check out what the family has done this year. Mick Beaver tries to add something a little

different each season, mixing in the new with the traditional decor that they’ve always used.

Neighbors bring their grandchildren by, and it’s not uncommon to see cars idling out front every night from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

But the fun can’t last forever.

“My wife wants them to come down as soon as possible,” Mick Beaver said. “So the lights are usually down a week after Christmas.”

At a glance

Where: 8152 Lynn Drive, Indianapolis, near Emerson Avenue and Stop 11 Road

Residents: Mick and Barb Beaver

Features: An array of decorations, including illuminated Frosty the Snowman, a surfboard-carrying Santa Claus and a traditional Nativity scene.

Ryan Trares is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at or 317-736-2727.