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A birds-eye view of the Menashe home (photo by David Rosen)

It's Christmas Cheer via 350,000 Lights at the Menashe Family Home in West Seattle

Jack Menashe opened Menashe and Sons Jewelers in West Seattle 40 years ago and he's been accessorizing people ever since. So it makes complete sense that he would have an equally blingy house. For over a decade, Jack's family's Beach Dr. home has been the place to go to see Christmas lights in West Seattle.

"I saw the movie, The Griswold's [National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation] at Christmas, the first time was 15 or 20 years ago, and I wanted to be like the Griswolds. And we've certainly matched them."

Two dozen National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation viewings later, Jack's house is covered in so many lights it's like looking into the sun. At night. While standing next to plastic reindeer.

"It's anywhere from 320,000 to 340,000. That's a lot of lights. And that's a big electrical bill in January."

A $3,000 electric bill, to be exact. And between the lights, the manger, the snow men, the carousel, the Santa Clauses and polar bears, it takes quite a bit of time to set up and take down.

"It comes in two parts. The first part is the behind-the-scenes: testing the lights, building the new displays and so forth. That takes two guys about 80 hours. The actual, what you see when you visit the display, is eight full-time workers for seven days. My son Joshua is the architect and the heart behind this. We have an electrical engineer and a general contractor because we have this huge lift that has to get up into the trees. So he's hand picked these employees who just sort of leave their jobs for a week and become our (employees) to do this Christmas display."

And all the hard work definitely pays off. Thousands of people either drive by very slowly or park their cars, bundle up and marvel at the display every year.

"I just love the lights and I think they're just beautiful," says Fergie, whose young daughter Jolie was smiling big at the display. "It just brings Christmas back, you know. It's a fun thing to look at. It just makes everybody happy when you come down and see it."

"All the joy from the little kids that come down five times, ten times, every year," Jack said. "People have gotten engaged in front of the manger scene, in front of the Christmas display in December. It does bring us a lot of joy."

Jack says he keeps up the display for the community, but also for his family, who all live in West Seattle.

"We have four children that are all married now and all have their own children. And that's been an inspiration for my wife and I to bring them into a family tradition. The legacy of family. Sometimes that's lost in this generation. Family is very, very important to my wife and I."

The light display will run through January 5, and you can see it from 5pm to 11:30pm everyday at 5605 Beach Dr. SW in West Seattle.

Find more light displays on The Holiday Map.

Rachel Belle, Ron and Don Show Reporter
Rachel Belle is a feature contributor and personality on The Ron & Don Show on KIRO Radio (weekdays 3-7pm), and host of Ring My Belle Weekends (Sundays at 3pm).
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