Chmielewski`s Big Show | VideoJoel Porter | 12/25/2012
"My electric bill? Ha ha!" he said.
His humble abode on Kennedy Avenue is not just in the spotlight, it is the spotlight. With 75,000 bulbs, 300 strings of lights, nine reindeer, a ferris wheel and yes, a miniature ski lift, you could say the family takes the holidays pretty seriously.
"It`s just kind of like living in a normal house, except yours can be seen from space," said his daughter Alysha.
"It`s very hard work doing it, getting it all set up. But it seems like at the end, the results are always great, just by what everybody`s comments are," Al said.
Amongst the self-proclaimed North Pole, a guest book sits in the family driveway with pages full of awestruck comments.
"We`ve had one person who signed it from Australia," Al said.
A few feet away, a donation box sits, collecting holiday funds that`ll be doled out to charity.
"It`s really cool just to see how much you can earn in one night and how giving the other people are. Like when you look in the box and see a $20 bill, it`s like wow!" Alysha said.
Night after night, the Chmielewskis have grown accustomed to the slow promenade of wide-eyed gawkers and vehicles slowly passing by, windows rolled down when the temps hover in the single digits.
"It is a little depressing have to take it all down. Have to wait a whole year to put it back up," said Al`s son, Joshua.
And Al`s kids admit, the house draws plenty of attention and curiosity.
"Where do you store it all? Those are the big questions," said AJ Chmielewski.
"We keep it in a shoebox about this big under the bed. And believe it or not, some people believe it," said volunteer Reed Wagner.
At first glance, there doesn`t appear to be any room for more in this front yard workshop, but Chmielewskis say that`s part of the fun.
"We always have something brewing. I got a few ideas, big stuff that`s planned to go up, but you have to come by next year to check it out," AJ said.
"Sky`s the limit now," Joshua said.
The family has also set up a Facebook page called "Chmielewski`s Christmas Corner." They say they plan to leave the lights on, even a few days after Christmas.