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Shining Bright: Cortland family’s light show spreads holiday cheer

CORTLAND – Tim Caravia doesn’t describe himself as the Clark Griswold of Cortland, but he does have a cousin Eddie mannequin on display in his front yard and his family’s house is lit up with more than 4,000 Christmas lights.

Tim and his wife, Jen, host The Caravia Family Light Show, located at 687 N. Goldenrod St. in Cortland. The couple started the light show for Halloween, when they programmed lights to music and had a 12-foot tall skeleton on display.

For Christmas, they decided to expand their usual holiday decorations to include a 12-foot tall Christmas tree, two 8-foot-tall nutcrackers, a mannequin dressed as cousin Eddie from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and 4,000 LED lights. The lights are programmed to music using the software xLights.

The Caravia Family Light Show will run daily from 5 to 9 p.m. through Dec. 31. The show’s music can be heard by turning your car radio to 89.3 FM.

The Cortland home of Tim and Jen Caravia is decorated for Christmas with lights that change along with the music during a 12-minute show. The show runs on a loop starting at 5 p.m. nightly.

The Cortland home of Tim and Jen Caravia is decorated for Christmas with lights that change along with the music during a 12-minute show. The show runs on a loop starting at 5 p.m. nightly. (Mark Busch –

Halloween is Tim Caravia’s favorite holiday and Christmas is Jen’s, so they decided to create a light show for each holiday. Their Halloween light show won “Spookiest” and “Mayor’s Choice” awards during the Cortland Halloween Contest.

“We’ve been decorating for years, and little by little, we have expanded our decorations,” Jen Caravia said.

Tim Caravia said his inspiration for starting a light show at their family’s home was the Larsen Christmas Lights Show in Elburn and his love of Lego displays.

“I began watching how-to light display videos on YouTube during the pandemic, and after studying and watching them, I decided to try it,” Tim Caravia said. “We both have a background in music, so we wanted to incorporate music into our show.”

The show features three songs and is 12 minutes long. Tim Caravia said he plans on adding another song or two into the show’s rotation by the end of the season.

“We wanted the show to be fun and entertaining,” Jen Caravia said.

Jen remembers her parents taking her to see Christmas lights and decorations in their family car when she was a young girl.

“I see how the lights make my 5-year-old son’s eyes sparkle, how excited he gets about lights and Christmas, and I want to spread that cheer and joy,” she said. “Driving around to see Christmas lights together is a holiday tradition for many, and it’s free.”

The DeKalb Park District, the Sycamore Park District and the Genoa Area Chamber of Commerce are each holding holiday house decorating contests. Information about the contests and houses participating can be found on the organizations’ websites and social media pages.

Tim Caravia said the question he receives most often is how the light shows affect his electricity bill.

“We use LEDs, and they’re only on for a limited time, they’re blinking and flashing and only at 30% strength,” he said. “Most people are shocked when I tell them that my electricity bill was only $17 more in October after the Halloween light show.”

Tim said his neighbors have approved of the light show, and he asks light show viewers to not block driveways and to be respectful of his neighbors and their houses and yards.

“I would encourage everyone to come out here and see our light show,” Tim Caravia said. “I’d hope others would also get into the hobby. I would love to have multiple houses in Cortland or even DeKalb County, having light shows. It’s a fun and festive way to celebrate the holidays and share that experience with others.”

For information and a sneak peek of The Caravia Family Light Show, visit the show’s Facebook page.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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