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Massive Christmas display shines light on Jubilee Center

It’s the brightest house on the block; the Christmas Wonderland on Ashwood; To people in Midland, it’s the Thames Christmas Extravaganza.

MIDLAND, Texas — Midland is on display around the country – this time for all the right reasons. The attention centers on one massive Christmas display in Midland. It was recently featured by The National Desk.

It’s the brightest house on the block; the Christmas Wonderland on Ashwood; To people in Midland, it’s the Thames Christmas Extravaganza. And every year, Ricky Thames makes the display bigger and of course, brighter.

 “It’s the second largest I’ve done in 22 years. This year we have 75,000 lights and 234 man hours to complete,” Thames said.

Every corner of the yard is a labor of lighted love for Thames.

“I look at any item and think how could I turn this into a Christmas item for my yard,” he said. “It includes welding, wood working, electronics, computers, everything you could think of. I love tinkering and building stuff.”

His love of creating has in turn, created Christmas memories for people from all over.

“We’ve had so much fun with it over the years. We usually have busses, limos, carriage rides. We’ve had a proposal in front of the house one year,” Thames said.

But more than Christmas cheer, Thames is shining a light on giving back to the community. Part of the display encourages people to give to the Jubilee Center of Midland, a local food pantry.

“People love to look at Christmas lights. Everyone just enjoys that and when they drive by, they can drop off cans or a monetary donation,” he said.

You can even see Thames and members of the Jubliee Center outside of the display on the weekends. Executive Director Keith Gibbons says it’s the perfect way to get the word out about their mission.

“It’s a good way for folks to drive by, drop cans, put a little money and goes to those in need,” Gibbons said. “Everything we give out is what we’ve raised locally.”

A bright reminder of what the season is all about.

Thames’ goal this year is to collect 2,000 pounds of food. So far, they’ve collected just over 250 pounds. The display is located at 5600 Ashwood in Midland.

Some fun facts of the display:

Total lights – 74,537

Total amps – 208

Total watts – 24, 960 (equivalent to 416 60-watt lightbulbs)

Installation time – 235.5 hours

Extension cords – 364

Extension cord length 6543 ft (1 ¼ miles of cords)

Thames FAQs

When did you start decorating? September 29, 2019

Where are all your decorations stored? For 21 years, everything was stored in my attic. Just had a shop built next to my house to store everything.

Do you do the same display every year? No, I change it up every year.

How do you run all your lights without tripping a breaker or fuse? Utility company upgraded transformer in alley, installed 320 amp double lugged meterbase, installed additional 200 amp panel and 18 – 20 amp plugs just for my Christmas light load.

What is your electric bill? I’d rather not release that information so my wife will let me continue to decorate.