Ted Krishisky didn’t have Christmas lights as a boy growing up in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania.
“We were too poor. We never had any outside lights, just what was in the house,” he said.
But the 84-year-old has made up for that now – and then some.
He’s created a light display at his Richland home that features thousands of LEDs – about 45,000 this year. They’re arranged in festive shapes and strung throughout his backyard and behind his Bremmer Street home, facing Gage Boulevard. He’s timed the blinking to Christmas music, including some of his favorite Polish tunes, reflecting his Polish heritage.
“I just love the whole spirit of Christmas and I love Christmas lights. I always did,” he said.
Krishisky has lived on Bremmer Street for 25 years. He joined the Navy at age 18 and then became a traveling field engineer after his service was done, a career that took him all around the country.
He worked on an electrical engineering degree at night, eventually taking a job as a professional engineer – specifically a nuclear instrumentation engineer – at the Hanford site.
He and his wife, Wanda, have three children and four grandchildren.
Krishisky started building up his light display about 14 years ago.
“In the old days, they didn’t have LEDs, they had incandescent lights. I had to bring four circuit breakers in to provide electricity for my lights and it cost me about $400 a month in electricity,” he said.
He eventually switched over to LEDs, “which consumed 10% of what the incandescent lights did. Even though I tripled my lights, my power consumption went down 80%,” Krishisky said.
He’s had as many as 50,000 lights as part of the display, but he’s pared down his collection a bit recently, donating some boxes to charity, he said.
Krishisky creates the vision and design of the light display, handles repairing the lights, and fashions by hand the “Christmas balls” – or lighted globes crafted from LEDs and plastic cups – that help give his property a winter wonderland feel.
His neighbor and friend Rudy Ruelas takes charge of hanging the lights for him.
Krishisky used to light up the front of his house as well, but now he keeps the display to the backyard and to the property just over his back fence, which the city of Richland has given him permission to tend. It has grass and greenery – and festive lights come Christmastime.
Krishisky takes joy in watching passersby marvel at his lights. His property is close to an apartment complex for seniors, and he especially enjoys delighting that population.
The lights are visible from Gage Boulevard at the intersection of Leslie Road.
As Thanksgiving approached, Krishisky had the lights going from 5-8 p.m. each night. He extends the hours leading up to Christmas and keeps the display going through Jan. 6, the epiphany.
For him, Christmas is a special time. He and Wanda enjoy Polish treats, including pierogies, golumpki, pastries, candies and cookies. They listen to Christmas music.
They enjoy the lights, which to Krishisky help embody the spirit of the season.
“The Christmas spirit is a spirit of joy, giving and receiving,” he said.
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