NAUGATUCK — On cold, dark evenings during the Christmas season, a few cars are always parked outside Mike Mayfield’s house at 23 Hopkins Hill Road. Sometimes, six or seven cars will line up down the street, waiting to get closer to the house.
Colored lights hang from gutters, window wreaths, trees, shrubs and lawn ornaments, flashing in time to Christmas tunes that drivers can hear on the radio within 400 feet of the house. The brilliant dancing lights have become one of the borough’s main holiday attractions.
“We did it for the gratification of other people,” said Mayfield, 51, a BMW mechanic who lives there his wife, real estate agent Linda Mayfield. “We used to go around and look at other people’s lights, and we do it for the same reason, to have people come by.”
The couple was inspired about five years ago by a video they saw on the news of a now-famous house in Mason, Ohio, where Christmas lights were animated to “Wizards in Winter” by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. That video has been viewed nearly 10 million times on YouTube.com and was featured in a Miller Lite beer commercial.
The Mayfields already loved to string lights along their fence and gazebo, but when they saw the video, they decided to do the same thing, Mike Mayfield said. The first year, they timed their lights to the same song, and since then, they have added “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” “Carol of the Bells” and a clip from “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
Mayfield bought the same Light-O-Rama computer program used in the Ohio house, then added control boxes to plug strands of lights into and a transmitter to broadcast the music on 107.7 FM. He has spent at least $3,000 on the display over the years.
“It was like a Christmas present for both of us,” Mayfield said. “Actually, it was a Christmas present for anybody who wanted to come see it.”
Mayfield uses the software to match the music with the lights, which are connected to the computer via the control boxes. He and his wife try to add a new aspect to the show every year, requiring a new control box and some more time. Just to choreograph “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” Mayfield said he worked two hours a day for about four months.
“We feel, her and I, that if we don’t add something to it, it becomes monotonous, sort of,” Mayfield said.
The show starts at about 5:30 every night and, these days, it lasts until 10 p.m., Mayfield said. Closer to Christmas, they leave it on longer, and on Christmas Eve it does not stop until midnight. It goes on every night until about a week after the new year.
The display has become more popular with time, and Mayfield said people start asking him after Thanksgiving when he will turn the lights on. Even people in their early twenties come and praise the show, albeit with loud profanity, Mayfield said.
“They’ve made that part of their tradition now, to come see the lights,” Mayfield said. “We have no plans to stop doing it.”