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Display 100,000 bits of illuminated tradition

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Christia Duncan’s infatuation with Christmas decorating started when he could barely hang lights on the lowest branches of the tree.

He remembers helping his grandparents string lights and glowing Santas outside their home in Indianapolis. By the time he was 12, he was decorating his home by himself, taking on the task of checking the bulbs and hanging the lights without the help of his parents.

That tradition has continued to this day.

Duncan’s southside home glows with the light of more than 100,000 bulbs. Strings of lights are wrapped around trees, up branches and across bushes. He has outlined the surface of the house with lights, all along the eaves and around the doors and windows.

“I’m just trying to get up as many lights as I can,” he said.

Putting up the entire display takes around 60 hours. Duncan started in October and had everything done the week after Thanksgiving. His massive display has required the assistance of Indianapolis Power & Light Co., which had to come out and assess whether his electrical system could handle the 200 amps of power needed to turn on the lights.

Duncan had to upgrade his home system in order to ensure the lights didn’t blow a fuse.

His specialty is Christmas lights. While other people have inflatables, figurines and other types of decoration, Duncan uses as many strands of lights as he can.

“No animation, no fancy Santa Claus. Just lights,” he said.

The motivation for the work stems from his childhood and Duncan’s memories of other light displays. Neighbors used to make viewing the neighborhood lights a family event.

Duncan recalls going on dates to view the soft glow of colored lights in the snow.

“When I was a kid, we’d pack up in the car and look at all the big holiday displays. It seems like after a while, they all faded off,” he said. “When I got my own place, I wanted to do this.”

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