NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A man's joy for Christmas lights that began when he was 12 years old is still being carried on by his family in Nacogdoches. The legacy continues with the annual Bert Rees Lighting Contest.
It's a Christmas event the entire city is encouraged to celebrate.
Charlene Rees likes new opportunities like learning to play the harp.
However, she also hangs onto a tradition started by her late husband Bert Rees and today shares with her granddaughter and anyone else needing some holiday cheer.
Charlene Rees, Rees Jewelry owner/contest sponsor-"Ruby, your grandpa loved Christmas and this was a way for him to express in his artistic way," Charlene said.
The SFA art professor spread his love of Christmas decorating by filling his yard with hundreds of twinkling lights, elaborate cutouts and many handmade displays. It was a must stop when driving around Nacogdoches looking at Christmas lights.
"He started thinking about what he was going to do next year probably on Dec. 23," Charlene said.
Bert Rees' fascination with Christmas decor began in 1940 when he was 12 years old.
"He lived in San Antonio and he got some white felt to cover the whole roof of his house," Charlene said.
Charlene says she will never go to such lengths herself.
Instead, for the last five years she's sponsored the Bert Rees Lighting Contest. A cash prizes of $150 encourages residents of Nacogdoches County to enter a photo of their outdoor lighting display. Charlene thinks her husband would have liked the idea.
"Mr Rees was just such a kind hearted person, and he just really wanted to give back to the community," Charlene said.
The Rees children continue to decorate in their father's absence, so there will always be a gift that truly exhibits a Merry Christmas.
Nacogdoches County residents can submit their Christmas decoration photo to the Bert Rees Lighting Contest Facebook page. Instagram and Twitter can be used too.