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York County retired officer ends 27-year Christmas light tradition

"There would be cascades of lights going down both sides of the driveway. Then behind the cascades you’d find inflatable creatures, everywhere, as you went down through,” said retired York Township police officer, Don Webb.

27 seasons- that’s how long Webb’s York Township home has doubled as the North Pole.

“You got to the elf bunkhouse, the elves are in there running around,” said Webb.

This annual winter wonderland, inspired by a childhood memory.

“A snowman that just tilted left and right. A sleigh with four or five reindeer and they rocked up and down. And I think there may have been a see-saw that went up and down. That was it, but that was amazing in the 50s. And that was always there. So when I started this with seth, I thought of that display,” said Webb.

The tradition began when don’s son Seth was ten-years old.

Don was going through a divorce, and wanted a to find a way to spend quality time with his son.

“I said, 'Seth, I’m going to take you out into the shop and start doing something that you’ll have memories of your father forever,” said Webb.

But in October of 2015, everything changed, when Seth was killed in a car accident.

Don says it took all his strength to build the display on his own that year, but it’s what Seth would have wanted.

“So I got out and I got them up. And that did work. And so I rededicated the display that year so that I could have memories of my son,” said Webb.

Needless to say, the display that brings smiles to hundreds of people’s faces each holiday season, is near and dear to Don’s heart, which is making the decision to end it this year that much harder.

“It’s bittersweet. I just love this so much. And I want to keep people happy. And not being able to do that brings a tear,” said Webb.

Don in part blames his age, saying this elf doesn’t have it in him anymore to spend ten hours a day for three weeks straight setting it up.

He also says Mother Nature was a grinch, and the pressure to get it done in time became overwhelming.

“I literally could not prep the area to get the lights up, and I was so worried about it, it was driving a knot into my stomach and I finally had to sit down with my wife and say, ‘I think I have to make a decision,’” said Webb.

The decision wasn’t an easy one, but then he remembers the display that inspired him when he was a child, and his Christmas wish becomes clear.

“Hopefully I’ve inspired someone else to step in where I’m going to leave off. That would be neat," said Webb.

Webb says he’s learned over the past few years that you never know what tomorrow might bring, but the same goes for his Christmas display.

This year, the Chestnut Hill Road home will remain dark, but next year could be another story.