British Columbia·Photos

'It's bittersweet': Burnaby couple string up Christmas light display for last time

The festive, brightly lit house on a sloping Burnaby street has become a Christmas staple over the last decade and attracts huge crowds every year. But this year, the owners say, will be the last.

Tina and Herb Sherwood’s home has become a holiday staple over the last decade

Tina and Herb Sherwood are pictured in front of their home which is covered in Christmas lights in Burnaby. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

The festive, brightly lit house on a sloping Burnaby street has become a Christmas staple over the last decade and attracts huge crowds every year. 

But this year, the owners say, will be the last. 

"I'm not a spring chicken anymore," said Herb Sherwood, who's in his early sixties and recently retired. 

"It's getting to be a bit of a chore to do it and then there's the safety part of it, just getting up on the ladders."

It took Herb Sherwood about two full weeks to create the display, along with some help from his wife Tina. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

He strung up 16,000 lights this year — a significant cutback compared to previous winters, he said —  but still enough to light up the street.

"This [year] is a bit of a bittersweet one," he told CBC's Caroline Chan, on a tour of the gardens.  

Over about 12 years, Sherwood and his wife Tina have become pros at putting up Christmas decor at their home at 5951 Baffin Place.

The Grinch, given to Tina by a friend, is one of the most popular displays and has been in thousands of visitors' selfies. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

"It just kind of evolved over time and we really enjoyed it, so we just kept going," said Tina Sherwood, who's also retired.  

"But I just can't do what I used to do. A few strands would go up and then I would have to stop and lay down."

Hordes of people show up once the display is ready at the beginning of December — sometimes in tour buses and once in a limo — and that's been the drive behind the display for years, Herb Sherwood says.

Herb Sherwood estimates he put up about 16,000 lights this year. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

"Once it's done, you forget that it took so much work to do," he said.  

"The fun part is when you stand in our front room window and watch the cars coming by, the people getting out and walking around, and the little kids poking around and having smiles."

The display attracts huge crowds every December, which is why the Sherwoods have continued the tradition for so long. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

Tina Sherwood says she knew the end would come eventually, but she can't help but feel nostalgic looking at all the lights and decorations.   

"Everything good has to come to an end, I guess," she said. 

"[Next year] we might not have as much as now but I'd still like a little bit of lights."

Listen to Tina and Herb Sherwood on a tour of their Christmas light display with CBC's Caroline Chan:

The festive, brightly lit house on a sloping Burnaby street has become a Christmas staple over the last decade and attracts huge crowds every year. But this year, the owners say, will be the last. 6:34

With files from Caroline Chan and On The Coast

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