Backed by a symphony of swirling lights and booming music, Matthew MacNab stands in his driveway and psyches himself up by reciting The Code of Elves from the 2003 movie Elf.
“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear,” he announces in a voice that suggests he takes that message to heart.
MacNab has been observing the code’s first tenet, too, by treating every day like Christmas Day.
The Barrhaven dad says he’s spent at least two hours a day for the past 11 months piecing together the 5,000-bulb spectacle that will illuminate his home on Athena Way.
“This season is about giving, happiness, family and love,” he said.
Inspired by Taffy Lane
Like the elves, MacNab firmly believes in Rule 2, too: There’s room for everyone on the nice list.
There’s also room for more than one neighbourhood light display in a city the size of Ottawa. MacNab once cleaned carpets for a homeowner on Taffy Lane in Orléans, the scene of one of the city’s most celebrated neighbourhood Christmas spectacles.
Seeing it inspired MacNab, and now he’s challenging his neighbours to follow suit and make Athena Way south Ottawa’s go-to light show every December.
He’s even got his lights timed to a 35-minute loop of Christmas music that visitors can tune into on their car radios.
MacNab plans to flip the switch on his light and sound spectacle at 5 p.m. each day until New Year’s Eve, weather permitting. The lights will twinkle until about 9 p.m., 10 p.m. on weekends.