We live on a small island. Not much escapes us. But when a casual conversation with new friends at our local Starbucks turned from computer hacking to Christmas decorating, my ears pricked up.
I am, after all, a self-proclaimed “Christmas animal.”
“Have you seen the Spencer house this year? It’s incredible!” our recently-hacked friend asked.
The fact was we’d never seen the Spencer house – didn’t even know there was a Spencer house. Evidently we’d been missing something pretty spectacular.
So last night we waited for the sun to set, piled into the car, and headed north on our island’s one main road. As instructed, we turned off just past our favorite burger joint and began weaving through the sabal palms and live oaks draped with Spanish moss dangling like icicles above, heading toward the light pulsing ahead.
As we rounded the last curve, a scene from Christmas Vacation emerged. We were gobsmacked! Millions of lights twinkled from rooftops; tree trunks were bound in miles of glimmering sparks. Inflatable Santas, Snoopies, and snowmen jostled for position in canoes, helicopters, and Airstreams. We could hear live music, so we parked and headed toward the lone saxophonist jamming on “Silent Night” up ahead.
The home belongs to Urania and Wally Spencer, and this was their grandson. He’s been playing his sax in front of the house during December for the past nine years, entertaining the crowds of people who come from all around to see this Christmas marvel.
Although Urania was born nearby, she and Wally lived in New York for over 40 years. When they retired, they traded snow shovels up north for beach umbrellas and a life back in the south.
Each year starting in August, Wally begins the long process of stringing all the lights through the trees and on the roof. Did we mention that Wally, a Word War II Veteran, is going to turn 90 this coming year? Amazing.
But the show does’t end on the outside. Wally and Urania invited us inside where the magic continues with entire rooms devoted to model trains …
… and the biggest Dickens Village we’ve ever seen.
So if you’re a Christmas animal, and you’re in this neck of the woods (St. Simons Island, GA), take a trip to Wally’s World. You won’t be disappointed. And if you want to enjoy it from afar, here’s a great video some folks took of the tour from a few years ago.
No matter where you are, have a joyful holiday.
Wishing you all the best,
Terri & James