'Christmas House' in Torrington, Connecticut, Makes More Than Spirits Bright (Inside Look)


There are Christmas light displays and then there's this Christmas light display. This home, in Torrington, Conn., is undoubtedly one of a kind. The kind that leaves you speechless with awe. The kind that forces you to squint from the overwhelming luminosity of 80,000 twinkling, multicolored lights. It's Christmas -- on steroids.

"I do it to bring people into Torrington," explained owner Ron Merriman, the mastermind behind the town's famous light display, which has been lit every holiday season for almost three decades. And bring people it certainly does -- 20,000 visitors each year, on average. And it's no surprise: Requiring 800 kilowatts of energy every night, the glowing "Christmas House" is a cross between an attraction and, well, (some would say) an eyesore.

Not us, though. With steaming hot chocolate in hand, a group of bundled-up friends in tow and "Let It Snow" humming sweetly in the background, we can't lie: It's impossible not to feel ridiculously, excessively, wonderfully festive at this home.

You might think that almost nothing can beat this outrageous Christmas display, but we can think of one that might come close. Check this out:

Want to make your own DIY holiday light display? Here's how to do it safely:

If you want to get in on the Christmas spirit without necessarily going all out like Merriman's "Christmas House" -- we wouldn't encourage it, anyway -- we have some advice. It's important to note that hanging holiday lights and decorations can be dangerous if not done correctly. The National Fire Protection Association estimates that 150 fires each year are caused by holiday lighting, resulting in $8.5 million in property damage and, in some cases, injury and death.

Julie Chavanne of the Electrical Safety Foundation International suggests the following:

• Outdoor electric lights and decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interruptors, or GFCIs. If circuits are not protected, portable outdoor GFCIs can be purchased where electrical supplies are sold and require no special knowledge or equipment to install.

• Inspect all lights, decorations, and extension cords for damage before using.

• Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, the house or other firm supports to protect them from wind damage, but take care not to attach the lights in a way that could damage the cord's insulation.

• Make sure that spotlights used to illuminate decorations are well-ventilated, protected from weather, and a safe distance from flammable items.

• Use wooden or fiberglass ladders when decorating outdoors. Metal ladders conduct electricity. And use the right ladder height, ensuring that ladders extend at least 3 feet past the edge of the roof.

• Exercise caution when decorating near power lines. Keep yourself and your equipment at least 10 feet from power lines.

• Indoor Christmas light display? Carefully inspect each electrical decoration. Cracked or frayed sockets, loose or bare wires, and loose connections may cause a serious shock or start a fire.