Lighting it up yet again for Christmas

Wellesley family’s Griswold-like display has even more going for it this year, with 25,000 bulbs keyed to the music


You may have seen plenty of Christmas lights strung up around the neighbourhood, but did they flash to a musical beat?

The Cook family is continuing their glorious display of a Christmas lights in 2018, adding 5,000 more bulbs to last year’s display to enhance the magic outside their Wellesley home. Now, nearly 25,000 bulbs move to the beat of the radio.

Spectators are invited to tune in to CKVL 100.1 FM when driving by 54 Ferris Dr. to take in the spectacle.

“This year, it took about 20 to 30 hours to set everything up because I added new things that took extra time,” said Ben Cook, the Wellesley resident who led the project. “I’ve always loved Christmas.”

The goal of 25,000 is reminiscent of the 1989 Chevy Chase film, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, in which the Griswold family displays the same amount of lights outside their home. In this real-life version, there are better results.

“It started with a small show, and then we had people come by and just tell us how much they loved it, and that it added to the Christmas spirit,” said Cook of the tradition’s progression. “I’ve just kept building from there.”

New additions this year include two sets of arches and a double set of lights surrounding the garage. There is also a set of lit candy canes leading up to the front door, lit-up windows, and lights wrapping around the trees on the front lawn.

“Ben is like a big kid, there is something about Christmas that is really special for him,” said Laura Cook. “Ben puts in a ton of time and energy to put on this light show. He gets so much joy when he sees a car stopped out front.”

She added it’s a well-known attraction around the neighbourhood. The family received many inquiries this year as to when the show would begin.

The process of setting up the display took about 20-30 hours, including the help from his children, Parker and Paige. Hooking up the lights to the beat of the music is quite a time-consuming process in itself, taking around 10 hours of labour to program.

Starting with all the right hardware, software, and equipment, Cook then selects the songs to which the lights will be synchronized. At this point, however, creating the display is something he’s familiar with, having had plenty of experience dealing with technology.

“I’m an audio/video nerd,” said Ben. “I’ve sold loudspeakers for 20 years. Now I sell microphones. So I’ve always been into the techie audio/video stuff. So it all really works together.”

He enjoys continuing the light show every time, and always looks for ways to perfect the display.

“It’s one of those things that once you get into it, you can’t help it but you look at it that you go ‘oh it would be cool if I added this over here, or made this a little brighter,’” said Cook.

The family encourages the community to donate to their local food bank to get into the generous holiday spirit throughout December.

“We were intending of putting a donation box out there,” he said. “So if people were enjoying the show and they were feeling charitable, a donation to the food bank would be fantastic. It brings some smiles to the neighbourhood.”

The show goes on throughout the week from Sunday through Thursday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., and then 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. over the weekend at the family’s Ferris Drive home.