GARDINER – After nearly 40 years of treating their community to an elaborate outdoor Christmas display, Grant and Nancy Pare will be turning off most of the lights.

The Pares say this will be the last year they put out all their decorations on the lawn of their West Street home, which includes 8-foot-tall windowed boxes with holiday-themed scenes, plywood cutouts of Christmas characters, numerous strings of lights and Christmas music.

“If you look up in the sky and see a glow, that’s my place,” Grant Pare said.

He said he and his wife, who are both 75 years old, decided that putting out all of the decorations each year had become too difficult.

“It’s just one of those things. As you get older, you have to back off a little,” he said.

Lisa Liberatore, who has lived across the street with her husband for five years, said she is sad that it will be the last year she’ll see all of the decorations whenever she steps out her door this time of year.

“I’m so fortunate to be able to look out my window and see such an awesome display,” she said, “and I don’t have to do any of the work.”

The best part of doing the huge decorative display? Seeing the look on the faces of children who come back every holiday season to see it, the Pares said.

They’ll still have a few decorations and lights next year, but they’re trying to sell three of the large box displays that Nancy decorates, Grant Pare said.

One of the boxes has a display of 4-foot-tall carolers, another has the Nativity scene and the other two have scenes of Santa’s workshop and cartoon characters.

Liberatore, whose favorite decorations are the display boxes, said she and her husband may have to pick up some of the slack and decorate their own house next year after losing what she called the best Christmas display in the area.

“I wouldn’t be bragging about it to that degree, but I think we look pretty good,” Grant Pare said.

Nancy Pare said that when her husband started the displays in 1975, their son was a junior in high school and helped him put out the decorations. Their son continued to help for years afterward, even with his own son, she said.

The Pares’ four children now have six children of their own, and the couple also have three great-grandchildren.

Grant Pare said it usually takes around two weeks to get the bulk of the decorations set up. People come from all over to see the display and tell them how much they appreciate the work, he said.

“Before I get them put out, they’re asking when I take them out and why I take them down so soon after Christmas,” he said. “They don’t have the light bill to pay.”

Kennebec Journal Staff Writer Paul Koenig can be contactedd at 621-5663 or at:

pkoenig@mainetoday.com