At least 150,000 Christmas lights will grace the lawn of one Van Buren couple as part of their annual lights show.

For the 20th year, Richard and Helen Hodo will turn on their Christmas lights Thursday, Thanksgiving night, at their home at 1205 Woodland Creek Circle, off Azure Hills.

"Helen and I feel like that’s our Christmas card that we are giving back to the community," Hodo said.

Renowned for having the best free lights show in the region, the Hodos have extended the show into one neighbor’s yard as well, Richard Hodo said.

Additional lights including a domestic scene with Mrs. Claus, Santa and some of his elves will greet visitors at 1209 Woodland Creek Circle before they hit the main show at the Hodo residence, Richard Hodo said.

This year’s show will continue the patriotic theme from last year to honor the nation’s veterans and active military, Hodo said.

A lit flag 14-feet by 18-feet will be on the roof of the Hodo’s home, and lights for the display and 50-foot Christmas tree will be red, white and blue. Raymond Harvey with Turf-Pro USA puts up the lights for the Hodos.

Hodo began putting up lights for the show the second week of October, he said. He said he is often asked about the cost for putting on the show.

"It’s pretty expensive putting this on, but when you see the response of the people … it’s worth it all," Hodo said.

Hodo also reduced his electric bill by switching to all LED lights, he said.

A mix of Christmas and patriotic music will play on radio frequency 105.5 FM and is synchronized to the lights show. This is the ninth year music has accompanied the show, Hodo said.

Hodo also is bringing back classics from previous years, including the Grinch, a gingerbread house, a giant snowman, and three scenes from the life of Jesus Christ - his birth, crucifixion and resurrection.

"I changed it up a little bit, but we’ll still have the Grinch in jail so he can’t steal Christmas - the kids love that," Hodo said.

The holiday display will be available for viewing from 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday until Dec. 27, Hodo said. More than 12,000 cars drove through the display last year, he said.

Santa will make an appearance and give out candy canes Thanksgiving night, and every Friday and Saturday throughout the season. About 16,000 candy canes are given out each year, Hodo said.

Visitors can bring their own camera to the Hodo home every Saturday at 2 p.m. until after Christmas and get a picture with Santa in his sleigh, no charge, Hodo said.

Those who wish to take more time to view the display can pull out of the way to allow traffic to keep moving, but Hodo asks that everyone stay in their cars for safety, he said.

"We encourage people to take their time," Hodo said. "Even if you want to stop, then stop and let the others go around you."

To find the lights show, just turn on Pointer Trail by Walgreens Pharmacy and follow the signs, Hodo said.(See LIGHTS, Page 2A)