Spectacular Christmas house draws crowds in Alexandria

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WJLA) – There are Christmas light displays, and then there are the ones that make your jaw drop. One home in Alexandria has such “wow” factor, it causes traffic jams every night.

"It's quite amazing,” said Nick Leighton who drove in from Maryland. “There are a lot of lights."

Even the man in the big red suit slipped off his sled Tuesday night to see the spectacle up close.

"This is definitely a Santa stop," he said, smiling.

When you first meet the mastermind behind the magical show, you may think Santa set 1601 Collingwood Road aglow.

“Ain’t that something,” said Bill Vaughan before laughing.

Despite his big white beard, Vaughan is not Old Saint Nick; however, the construction company owner loves Christmas so much, he's spent the past 22 years making his home a holiday destination.

“It’s a little stressful,” he admitted. “I hear the screech of breaks and I look outside and I hope everything is okay."

To make sure the lights flicker without a hitch, Vaughan takes the month of November off from his day job every year and transforms into an electrical engineer.

“Over the years, it comes and I've gotten better and better at it," he said.

More than 350,000 tiny flashing lights glisten in perfect harmony with holiday tunes. And if that’s not impressive enough, all the wire frames include the lit-up deer and birds and fish and welded by Vaughan.

As for the cost?

“The cost we don't talk about," he said matter-of-factly. “I’ve told a lot of people it would probably ruin my Christmas if I actually sat down and calculated how much I spent on this.”

Despite the dollar signs however, visitors say the experience is priceless.

"Definitely,” said Erin Dullahan who drove over from Maryland. “It's going to be a new tradition."

Sterling resident Guenther Fritz is planning his future visits too. “It’s just amazing,” he said.

“It’s something to go see for sure," added Atlanta resident Todd Jones who’s in town visiting family with a van packed with his boys.

There's still time to see these lights up close. You have through the first week of January. The 23-minute show runs on loop from 5 until 10:10 every night weather permitting.

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