Christmas on Tuxedo Avenue just isn’t complete without the over-the-top colourful outdoor display at the Salmond house.
When a health scare in 2012 forced Neil Salmond to slow his lifestyle down, it also forced him to cancel last year’s display.
“I had a cardiac event. I was very lucky. I didn’t even really know it happened,” he said. “They put you on medications but they have some different side effects which really take the stuffing out of you. … So by the time it was coming to Christmas (2012) I just didn’t have the energy to do the Christmas display.”
He says neighbours and Greater Victoria residents took note that after 21 years straight, their massive display was missing.
“We felt bad because a lot of people were still coming by looking for it,” he said. “We were walking one day and a lady didn’t who were are asked, ‘Do you know where the Christmas display is? I sure hope everything’s okay.’”
If there’s one thing the health scare did, it highlighted the brevity of life. “We should live life to the fullest and appreciate every day that we have,” he said.
And for the Salmonds, living life to the fullest means getting pure joy out of seeing the smiles of the 20,000-plus visitors at their annual Christmas display.
This year it’s back in a slightly smaller, but just as impressive, scale, to see how much Neil can do while his medication continues to slow him down.
Neil and his wife Michelle have spent the last month hanging and setting up hundreds of decorations and lights. Among them are a 25-foot-tall inflatable elf and a 25-foot-tall inflatable nutcracker – both of which tower over the Salmond home.
“Our garage is full (of Christmas decorations), we have four sheds full, and a section in a warehouse, which filled a five-ton truck to bring in here,” Neil said.
The Christmas display runs nightly until Jan. 2 at 4091 Tuxedo Dr. The Salmonds turn the lights on around 5:30 p.m.
“Why do we do it? It just makes a lot of people happy, and it’s something to give back to Victoria. It’s just a sea of people out there and we love to see all the smiles.”