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East Syracuse man prepares holiday light display to help Food Bank of CNY

Some might say the best time to buy Christmas lights is on December 26. But one East Syracuse man says the best time to start decorating for the holidays is right now.
East Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- Some might say the best time to buy Christmas lights is on December 26. But one East Syracuse man says the best time to start decorating for the holidays is right now.

All dressed in red, Jeff Koehler is the neighborhood Santa Clause. Everyone on Kermit Lane knows him, if not by name, by his Christmas light and music display.

Every year, Koehler is up on his roof day in and day out, but never down the Chimney. His gift comes in the form of a performance in his front yard.

“When the lights come on and it works the way it’s supposed to, it’s a bit of a head rush,” Koehler said.

Feeding lights through branches for hours gives him time to think.

“The technology is pretty cool. We can all enjoy it and gives back to the community,” Koehler continued.

This year, hundreds of lines of lights will dance with familiar Christmas tunes, but at the end of the driveway admission will be collected in the form of canned goods and gifts for the foodbank.

“It’s the start of the cold season, so extra expenses happen this time of year and people need extra help. This is a creative way to provide help,” said Brian McManus, with the Food Bank of Central New York.

Koehler’s favorite elf – his son – is also doing his part.

“I usually do a lot of the ground work because I’m not good with heights and roofs,” Koehler’s son said.

Most of the lights in Koehler’s yard are LED, so they’re energy efficient, too.

"My grandfather, who owned this house before me, started decorating the outside with bells and stuff. I kind of ran away with it after that, in a big way," Koehler said.

It’s a tradition passed down the family line with a message of giving that’s never too early to spread.

The Koehler family hopes to kick off their light show on Kermit Lane in East Syracuse on Black Friday.

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