Anyone who takes Farm-to-Market Road 2896 between Gainesville and Callisburg between dusk and dawn this month is in for a big holiday treat.

Landscaper Daniel Sohl has adorned the small farm he shares with parents Peggy and Clifford with over 45,000 – yes, 45,000 – Christmas lights, carrying on an annual tradition he started when they moved here from Decatur nearly 20 years ago.

Daniel says it’s a labor of love.

“I just like lights. I love Christmas lights. I like to watch people slow down when they drive in front of her house and look at them,” he said. “We try and always do something, add onto it the next year and go bigger.”

Indeed. What started in 2003 as a way to dress up the barn for the holiday has grown steadily to include the fences, small bushes out in the front of the property and ladders placed all around and strung up with lights – not to mention an old work truck.

Drivers routinely slow down and/or stop to admire the work.

“When he starts putting the lights up, the neighbors and the people that usually come and go, always stop and tell him or yell at him, ‘We love the lights!’” said Peggy.

The only complaints Daniels ever gets are well-intentioned barbs from his sister Jennifer, who lives next to the barn and teases him about the lights being too bright on her side, Peggy added.

The work starts before Thanksgiving and takes about two weeks. Daniel starts with the barn, then moves to the house before doing the fences and ladders. He does it at night, usually, in order to better see which lights are out and need to be replaced.

The cost of all those lights aren’t prohibitive, either. The hit to their light bill for December is “only $5, because they’re all LED … it’s doesn’t take anything,” he said.

Drivers will get to enjoy the view until the New Year, as everything comes down starting Jan. 1. All of the lights are rolled up, bagged and stored back in the loft in the barn until next year.

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