By: Randall Stull, Purchasing Manager at CDC, Atlanta
As I drove up a major Atlanta residential highway one night in December 2015, I couldn't help but notice that one particular side street was ablaze with lights, with parked cars everywhere. Returning to this street, I was amazed by a house completely engulfed in Christmas inflatables and lights of all kinds. When my grandkids of 9 and 12 years of age visited during Christmas break, we decide to take them by this house for a walk among the various decorations. To our surprise, we were further amazed to find this house even had a snow-making machine.
This Thanksgiving, we had a house full of guests, one of which was a two-year-old granddaughter. We all decided to take her to the house to visit Santa. Upon arriving, we were met by the owner, still in the process of completing his decorations. To my surprise the owner is a 35-year-old Bryan Adamczyk, an FSE Lead Technician working in the power plant at the CDC facility in Atlanta. Bryan is responsible for maintaining very large pumps and the fire protection systems at all three CDC campuses.
Bryan got his love for Christmas decorating from his mom and dad at the age of 12 when his family moved to Atlanta. After Bryan and his wife bought their first house in 2008, they inherited his dad's six inflatables and Bryan's inventory has since snowballed (pun intended). A 10' x 12' utility shed, originally intended for his riding lawnmower, has nothing but Christmas decorations.
Bryan begins his decorating around November 1st, hoping to have it complete by Thanksgiving. Lights are on 24/7 until the second week of January. They now have 64 inflatables, 20,000-plus lights, 13 artificial Christmas trees, 12 decorated yard trees, five decorated driveway arches, a Christmas village scene and much more. Every Friday and Saturday night in December, with a snow machine making snow and Christmas music being played, Santa and Mrs. Claus (Bryan and his wife) take pictures with and talk to children visiting the display. Pictures can either be e-mailed or pulled directly from Santa's Facebook page at no cost whatsoever.
Many people return every year to visit Bryan's decorations. On one occasion a small child asked, "What's wrong with Santa?" She explained that in past years, Santa (the inflatable) has always waved to her and this year he isn't waving (the motor wasn't working). At this point, Bryan realized how much joy both children and adults alike get from visiting his display. The memory of this child's asking, "What's wrong with Santa?" motivates him to return every year with even more decorations.
While Bryan's display began as a way to spread joy, it now also serves another noble purpose. One year, a gentleman who worked for Meals-on-Wheels visited. He explained that on many occasions he would deliver food to elderly people with pets, but they would give the meal to their pets and not eat themselves. As a result, he founded the charity "Daffy's Pet Soup Kitchen," and now brings pet food with him when he delivers Meals-on-Wheels. Bryan was inspired and now includes a large illuminated sign advising that Santa would accept donations for "Daffy's Pet Soup Kitchen," with 100% of the proceeds going to the charity. When Santa is there, approximately 50% of those visiting contribute. Last year's contributions were $800.