Accessibility links

Grinch Replaces California Christmas Light Display

Alan Aerts makes a very good living distributing soft drinks throughout California's Silicon Valley. Six years ago, he and his wife spent $150,000 -- more than four times what the average American worker makes in a year -- to create an amazing display of Christmas lights at their mansion in the city of Monte Sereno. The dazzling array of lighted Santa and reindeer, angels and singing Christmas carolers was so astounding that, for five straight holiday seasons, about 1,500 cars drove past the spectacle each night.

Problem was, the Aertses live on a closed-end street…meaning the traffic crawled one way to the end, rolled around a circle and crept back again. Neighbors could hardly get out of their driveways. And oh, the clatter and trash!

Finally, a couple living across the street had enough. They got 90 other families in the community to join them in a complaint to the city council. The council then passed a stern “bah, humbug.” Henceforth, no outdoor exhibit in Monte Sereno could last more than three days.

O-K, said the Aertses. Three days it is. But this year there would be no galaxy of glittering lights. Instead, they decorated their lawn with a single custom-made, three-meter-high, green, singing Grinch figure from the Dr. Seuss children’s book, How The Grinch Stole Christmas. And they made sure that the animated ogre -- complete with rotting teeth and red eyeballs -- had a swinging arm pointed directly across the street at their neighbors as it belted out the theme song from the cartoon based on the Dr. Seuss story: “You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch!”

The three days are up for the Grinch of Monte Sereno. Now the folks in town are left to wonder what next Christmas will bring.