Why this 25-year-old decorates his house with 250,000 lights every holiday season
'I love lights,' says Sami Hajjar, who has been decorating the home he shares with his mother since he was 13
There's always that one house in the neighbourhood that goes all out with holiday decorations.
In the borough of Ahuntsic-Cartierville, that house belongs to Sami Hajjar's mother, which the 25-year-old has been covering with lights since he was 13.
Hajjar says it all started when he and his mother went to a drugstore 12 years ago and he couldn't resist splurging on festive lights.
"I saw those C9 [light] bulbs and I ended up buying 12 packs of 25," Hajjar told CBC Montreal's Daybreak on Tuesday.
That initial inventory of 300 lights has now grown to more than 250,000. They take up nearly the entire surface of his mother's house and lawn. On top of that, Hajjar has added 175 inflatable decorations to the setup.
"It looks like Disneyland, I would say," he said. "I love lights and I love seeing my house decorated when I come [home]. I just love it."
This year, Hajjar has opened up the backyard to neighbours, creating a winding path where families can explore his different decorative themes.
Last weekend, visitors waited up to 25 minutes to see Hajjar's collection of Star Wars, Grinch, Paw Patrol, Frozen and Minion-themed inflatable statues and decorations.
With the help of two friends, Hajjar began installing the lights back in September. But despite the time he put into creating the display, Hajjar balked at the suggestion he should charge his visitors.
"Yeah, but I enjoy doing it. It's my hobby. It's what I love doing. I do it with pleasure," he said.
He says he hasn't heard complaints from neighbours, but guesses there are some who appreciate the lights more than others.
The operation has grown so big, though, that Hajjar has considered moving his display to a larger venue in years to come.
For the time being, Hajjar says his mother still appreciates the lights. "She loves it. She doesn't help me, but she loves it," he said, laughing.