MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Every day as the sun sets in Minnesota, thousands of Christmas displays light up.
But as this season comes to an end, the future of one beloved tradition in White Bear Lake became uncertain.
For this Christmas show, the cost of admission is just a smile–something that John Cretzmeyer, a dentist by trade, is used to seeing in his chair.
His Christmas tree stays up year round.
“We just put a bag on it, take the bag off and plug it in,” he said.
He has decorated his home to the nines for the last 30 years, and it’s a sight to behold.
But back in the ’80s, these 60-foot trees were closer to 10.
“It was pretty easy for me to decorate a 10-foot tall tree with a step ladder,” Cretzmeyer said. “Then the trees got bigger and taller. It just grew.”
It grew to be 150,000 lights that take a crew of ten to hang.
“We don’t have all the fancy stuff the big companies do, so it’s all hand labor,” he said.
After three decades of a twinkling house, Cretzmeyer planned on retiring his display.
“It’s really a lot of work, and it’s getting a little dangerous,” he said.
But since John and his wife, Barb, posted the newest addition to this year’s display, a sign saying it’s their last year, there’s been an outpouring of support and thanks.
“It’s awesome, and I think this is the last year doing it, so we had to see it,” John Cretzmeyer said. “I go out and get the mail. Four or five cars will stop, roll down their windows and say, ‘We are on the third generation, the fourth generation. We’ve come by your house for 30 years. Please keep going!’”
Cards, emails, even knocks on the door telling the doctor he just can’t pull the plug.
“It’s our gift to the community,” he said. “It’s our gift back, and now I’m finding that it is appreciated. I wasn’t aware of how much it was appreciated until now.”
The show of appreciation sent Cretzmeyer into a state of flux.
There must have been something in the air that cold December night because, as he said: “I’m thinking we’re going to be back. Okay, maybe. Not maybe. I’ll probably be back. I’ll be back. You heard it here first.”
He said he needs a big magic marker to change the sign hanging at his house that reads, “This is the last year.”
He will indeed be back. Tell him thanks by driving past his display. The address is 5590 West Bald Eagle Blvd in White Bear Lake.