POSTED: Sunday, December 8, 2013 - 10:11pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - 1:59pm
DENHAM SPRINGS, La (NBC33) - — Clyde Messenger and his family have a special spot for Christmas in their hearts. Clyde Messenger owns Messenger's Christmas land on Plantation Avenue in Denham Springs. The family-run operation features dazzling displays of lights and moving Christmas character scenes.
"This here has been a fun magical 50 year ride," Messenger said.
Now after decades of fun, Messenger says he's considering closing up shop.
"Our house is up for sale now, and I'll be retiring next year," "It's amazing how many neighbors have called and wanted to know why we're were selling the house... why we are going to stop our Christmas display."
Messenger wants to retire and move out of state. If that happens, the light display everyone knows and loves will be gone. Messenger says he doesn't want the light display to go away: that's why he wants a charity to take over the job and keep the Christmas magic alive.
Messenger's dad started the tradition in the 1960's at the family home in Baton Rouge. When Clyde's father decided to retire from running the yearly display, Messenger moved the lights to Denham Springs.
"He always left me with one message every year after he quit doing it. 'We never know how long this is going to go on. We always have to assume this is the last year.' He said it was a great run, we've had great fun, but it's something that's going end one day," Messenger said.
Messenger said more than 40,000 people pass through his yard each year, and for many folks it's become a holiday tradition.
"I've been coming here since I can remember since my grandmother brought me," Christine Guidry, fan of Messenger's Christmas Land, said. "This is what Christmas is all about! Being able to see and experience the lighting."
When fans started to learn about Messenger's potential closing, they were heartbroken, but Messenger said they've shown his family a lot of support.
"They make it a point to come by, and that is very overwhelming for us to know that as such simple people we've created something that means so much for so many of them," Messenger said.
It's not just the fans who are waiting on his decision. Messenger's children, who help run the displays, are also wondering what Christmas will be like next year.
"it's one thing for the neighbors to express concern, but when your children start telling you that that's (Messenger's Christmas Land) known as Christmas...," Messenger stated. "Every Christmas we go outside in the yard."
Messenger said he has a tough decision on his hands. He hopes to have a final decision on Messenger's Christmas Land's fate by the summer.
"Whether we sell the house or not is still up in the air," he explained. Whether we'll be here next year is uncertain yet. But, for the most part, the neighbors have excepted it they love it and they hate to see it leave."
If you want to check out Messenger's Christmas Land, the bright lights and fun Christmas characters are on display through December 27th. Best of all, it's free to the public.