Spreading Goodness in Merrick
By Rachel Mohan, Grade 8
During these past few months, people have been trying to spread goodness through acts and displays of kindness. This comes as a result of the many difficulties people have been experiencing.
Every year Philip, Lenny, and Karen Heide set up Christmas Decorations at their house in Merrick, New York during the holiday season. The Heide family decorates the inside and the outside of their home for Christmas, Halloween, Easter, Valentines Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day, and the Fourth of July. Lenny and Karen Heide, Philip’s parents, began this tradition 46 years ago, and Philip has been helping to keep this tradition alive for the past 30 years. The Heide family spends approximately 124 hours setting up their Christmas holiday display.
I had the opportunity to interview Mr. Heide, Assistant Principal of St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Academy in Woodhaven, to ask him questions about his family tradition.
I first asked, do people show up at your home to view the display. Heide said, “This year we averaged about 100 people who came and walked around each night. In addition to that, we had around 20 carloads of people who drove by and saw our display. Back in 2018 when we were on The Great Christmas Light Fight, we had approximately 3,000 people who came to see our house.”
The Heide house is decorated with lights, figurines, nutcrackers, inflatables, and other festive decors. I asked Mr. Heide if he had a favorite decoration. He responded with, “I love my nutcrackers. I have 310 of them. There are a few other vintage pieces that are very important to me. One of them is a motorized plastic snowman. It used to be my uncle’s. We also have a Santa face that was my grandfather’s. Pieces like those hold sentimental value to me. Another one of my favorite pieces is a vintage fawn deer that was made in the 1970s by a company called Polaron. I have three of them outside on the lawn and two of them inside that have been custom painted.”
The light display is turned on during the evening hours of the holiday season. From 5:30-9:30 pm, the lights can be seen by people passing by. When asked if the lights ever get annoying, Mr. Heide said that he uses timers to control the display.
The people of Merrick are very fortunate for the hours of work that the Heide family puts into their home display. When asked if they have any regrets, Mr. Heide said, “NEVER!”