KILLEEN (December 24, 2013) A Killeen couple used a lot of imagination and 30,000 lights to turn their home at 4222 Frontier Trail into a Christmas wonderland complete with a snow machine and Santa’s workshop.
Chris and Mary Ellis, who recently got out of the Army, decided last Christmas to do something to give back to the community.
"We both love Christmas and we love to see the smile on the kids’ faces," Chris said.
"Not everybody could afford to go to the mall so I just figured we do this for the community and everybody that wants to come through,” he said.
They covered the entire front yard with sheets of cotton that look like snow, erected a handful of Christmas trees, and put up nearly 30,000 lights to create a magical Christmas wonderland.
"I made the arches, the flag and flocked the trees,” Mary said.
“We were both out here. This old man he can't do so much," she said.
"I was a cook in the military so I was always doing something for people anyway so it's the same type of thing...well actually this is more rewarding because they are happy for it and soldiers weren't happy for our food."
Chris and Mary dressed as Santa and Mrs. Claus, and visitors were treated to sweets, hot chocolate, pictures with Santa, and played in the snow that fell from a snow machine.
"I love the lights and the food is awesome," said Ethan Gallegos, 6.
"I asked (Santa) for a lot of toys."
"It's really awesome for the family to go out go their way to really experience Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus," said Joseph Gallegos.
"They're just real welcoming and made my kids feel real comfortable and it's just been an awesome experience," said Amanda Gallegos.
The lights come on at 6 p.m. and at 8:30 p.m. the couple put on a musical light show.
"This is going to be our yearly tradition,” Chris said.
"We are going to try to step it up every year and do it bigger and better, and we're glad people are just going to keep coming back.'
The display continues until New Year’s Day.