This is a printer-friendly version of an article from

12/09/2020 11:00 PM

A Holiday Show for All is Alight in Clinton

Sam Reed’s Clinton home is a holiday light show for everyone. Photo by Kelley Fryer/Harbor News

Need a little holiday season cheer? Grab a hot chocolate, get in the car, and head toward Frederick Place in Clinton. Every night until Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021 from 5 to 9 p.m. there will be a holiday light show at the home of The Morgan School student Sam Reed that is sure to brighten the day of even Ebenezer Scrooge.

Featuring more than 100,000 lights and 50 individual display pieces, the show is the brainchild of Reed. The display is located on Frederick Place, a small road located off of Fairy Dell Road that ends in a cul-de-sac.

In Reed’s words, “You can’t miss it.”

This year, attendees can get the full show by syncing their car radio up to a station that features a run of seven winter or seasonal themed songs that corresponds to the light show. Attendees can also bring canned goods and nonperishable food items that will be donated to the food pantry.

A Show for Everyone

Make no mistake: This isn’t a Christmas light show, it’s a holiday light show.

One day when he was in middle school Reed was watching an episode of the ABC show The Great American Light Fight, a show about different families competing to see who has the better light display. But to Reed, who is Jewish, one part of the show didn’t sit right with him.

“The thing that bothered me is it’s all about Christmas. And being a Jewish family, that bugged me,” said Reed.

Even though multiple cultures and faiths have significant holidays during the winter months, Christmas usually takes centerstage this time of year. Reed pointed out that if you were to go into a store this time of year, there may be a small display of Hanukkah decorations but the majority of the store will likely be Christmas-themed.

As a result, Reed decided to make his display purposely non-religious and more a celebration of the season as a whole. That decision can present some unique challenges, especially when it comes to finding music.

“When you think of songs it’s hard to find some that don’t mention Christmas,” Reed said with a laugh.

Examples of songs that are included in this year’s display include “Let It Go” from the movie Frozen and “Winter Wonderland.”

“Nobody should feel excluded by their religion,” Reed summed up.

Reed started doing the annual display when he was in the 7th grade and it’s become even bigger as time has gone by. “It just grows every year. The whole yard is covered now,” said Reed.

This year, Reed began setting up the display in November and had it ready by early December though he begins working on the display much earlier than that.

“I’ve already started working on next year’s display, if that gives you any indication,” said Reed.

Throughout the year, Reed works on finding new songs to fit the display, building new props, and coming up with new ideas for the display.

The hardest part and my favorite part is the programming,” Reed said.

Through an early love of theater and production, Reed became interested in computer science and learned all the technical skills needed to make his production a go. Reed said he plans on studying computer science when he goes to college.

Through the years, Reed said the feedback he’s received has all been positive, which Reed proudly called “the best feeling in the world.”

“People say I bring them joy and they sit outside for a half hour to watch the show. My favorite part is looking outside at night and seeing all the cars lined up to watch,” said Reed. “I’m lucky to have such great neighbors, too,” Reed added.

The year 2020 has been hard for everyone. Although if the generosity evidenced by Reed’s display is any indication, people are still finding ways to help others.

“This is definitely the most popular year. We have had over 300 cans collected in the first week already. Especially now that there’s so much need at the pantry, it really feels good to be able to give back,” said Reed.

The Morgan School senior Sam Reed is brightening his Frederick Place neighborhood with a holiday light extravaganza. Photo courtesy of Sam Reed