You could just about see the grin on Steve Patzer's face from the street near his house.
The St. Charles resident was up on his roof Monday, putting together his light display for the Christmas season. Patzer said he began the tradition of putting up the lights while his three daughters were away at college, to surprise them when they came home. For 15 years he has continued the tradition, only now his daughters are coming home with spouses and even grandchildren. And just talking about that still makes Patzer smile even while perched at the edge of his roof.
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"I set the bar pretty high because now I have to repeat it every year," he said.
Although you won't see his house from outer space like that of the Griswolds, the lights along his eaves and in the greenery on his chimney still take quite a bit of work.
The process inevitably involves burned-out bulbs or entire strands that don't work, he cheerfully gets up on the roof of his ranch house along the Fox River to make sure it's decked out for his girls when they come home. Monday's moderate temperatures gave him a bonus day to get the work done -- before he and his wife host Christmas for 12.