2,000 Points Of Light Decorate Home

December 08, 1993|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,Staff Writer

When the Werners decorate their house for Christmas, everybody notices.

This is not a family that every year brings out a few strings of blinking bulbs to wrap around the shrubs. The glow comes from 2,000 bulbs.

Andy Werner has put 1,400 small lights on his Stewart Avenue home and another 800 on the holly tree in the back.

"I scaled back on the lights. Last year, I had 3,000," Mr. Werner said.

Every year, Mr. Werner makes a new display for his front yard. By the end of this weekend, he expects to have a 12-piece Nativity scene there. That's four animals, three kings, two shepherds, Mary, Joseph and a baby, which he has cut out of plywood and painted. The pieces are up to 4 feet tall.

"It's worth it," Mr. Werner said. "Every year I add something."

This is the fifth year Andy and Tammie Werner -- really Andy, his wife says -- are decorating. The first year was a modest tree with bows, and lights on the house. But the next year Mr. Werner, who at 32 acknowledges a childlike wonder of the holiday, built an 8-foot-long wood train set. The following year came four life-size carolers. And last year, two skaters on their 16-foot pond greeted passers-by -- and there are many of those -- who each year come to admire the handiwork that's spotlighted.

"He loves it," said Mrs. Werner, 27.

She helps a little, the couple's 5-year-old twin daughters are cutting snowflakes, and the dog has gotten over nibbling on the wires. But really, she said, this is her husband's labor of love.

The display of Christmas Present is in the front yard, scenes of Christmas Past are in the backyard, and plans for Christmas Future are in Mr. Werner's briefcase.

Those plans consist of pages from a child's coloring book featuring elves.

Once he selects the outlines, Mr. Werner enlists the free-hand artistry of his brother-in-law, Samuel Schroder, who turns 6-inch outlines into 6-foot sketches. Mr. Werner transfers them to plywood sheets for sawing and painting.

The ho-ho-ho comes in the electric bill. Mr. Werner estimated that the holiday cheer adds about $150 for December and January, then a few dollars more for illuminating the scenes in February's snow.

Upgrades to the house's old electrical wiring were made partly with the Christmas lights in mind. "There was a time when we had Christmas light on and my wife would turn on the hair dryer, and we'd blow a fuse," Mr. Werner said.

For the past three years, the Werner house has taken a prize -- never the top one -- in the Glen Burnie Improvement Association's decorating contest, though that is not what drives Mr. Werner.

"It's not the contest. I'm doing it for fun," Mr. Werner said.

An association committee drives through the area and decides on the most original decorations, the ones with the most child appeal, the best-all around and honorable mention awards. Prizes range from $75 to $25.

The organization has done its own decorating, stringing lights on the tree in Logo Park near the intersection of Ritchie Highway and Route 648. The lighting ceremony will be at 7 p.m. today.

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