Lighting the (Centennial) Trifecta

Picture a block of houses—three, to be exact—illuminated with hundreds of thousands of multicolored holiday lights and festive decorations–strung together by cords, flora and a neighborhood bond and desire to make people smile–and you’ll just begin to imagine what Keith Smith’s house looks like from Dec. 1 to New Year’s.

The Christmas light connoisseur, as he calls himself, has spent decades putting together one of the most elaborate holiday light shows in the metro area.

Smith’s passion for collecting lights and decorations for this festive time of year started when he was just six years old. As an adult, “I’ve just built and built,” Smith says. “And now the light are synchronized to music and I have my own radio station to play the tunes.”

Though Smith’s lighting displays have always been something neighbors come to see, fandom flew to a new level two years ago when he moved to Centennial from Castle Rock.

A Castle Rock show called the Rockin Christmas, a lighting spectacular that covers two homes, “gave me the idea to try and get my neighbors involved,” Smith says. Only he took the project a step further, by including two of his neighbors.

The setup, spearheaded by Smith and his wife, Shauna, puts the Smith house in the middle of the cluster with the Pelletiers on one side and the Nichols and Coolens on the other. Their musical show lasts for 30 minutes.

“Rockin Christmas always have the newest, craziest stuff, but it’s more dialed in,” Smith says. “Our show is more fun and I have more little things.”

This year Smith and his neighbors have added 45,000 new lights to their display, plus some other “things” the team couldn’t get programmed properly last year. (Smith even rented a scissor lift for some of the taller trees and more intricate displays.)

It’s a major time investment constructing the design; as most of it is put up on weekends in November. It takes nearly 300 hours, Smith says, to put the entire thing together, even with help from some assistants from work: “It’s crazy that it only takes about 24 hours to take it all down, but so much longer to put it all up.”

Over 200 cars and buses are expected to come by this month, including senior homes, tour buses and individual families. But whether or not people come for the entire set or a few songs, Smith has a message for them: “I want to bring good memories of Christmas to people. It means a lot to me when my lights can bring happiness to those around me—that’s why I do it.”

Smith’s neighborhood: Centennial’s The Knolls. See you on the sidewalk?