Royal Oak Unger family Christmas light display to be the last after 35 years

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WXYZ) - When John and Ethlyn Unger turned on the lights this year, they knew it would be their last.

"Very difficult for me to say, okay, I can't do this anymore," said Ethyln Unger.

Every year, right around this time, the Royal Oak home near 12 mile and Main Street gets a lot of attention.

"It started out real small," said Ethlyn. They started the decorations for their children and put out only a nativity scene when they had their first child.  That was a while ago.

"35 years.  35 years," said Ethlyn. Eventually one decoration turned into a few more and it just kept growing from there.

"180 foot this way, plus the other 40 or 50," said Ethlyn. That's just 70 feet shy of a football field covered with holiday decorations.

This is one of the things that we love," said John Unger.

Even they have lost count of the how much they have on their lawn. "Have no clue.  Have no clue," said Ethlyn. She can only estimate how many lights.

"Oh, probably a hundred thousand or more," said Ethlyn.

Every year the lights attract hundreds of motorists and people walking with kids.

"None if any are LED's," said Ethlyn. Which only adds to the problem, which is the electric bill.

"For December it could be anywhere from $1,200 to $1,500 hundred dollars," said Ethlyn. That makes it difficult for the two retirees on a fixed budget.

"We can only go to the poor house once," said Ethlyn. So they let everyone know that this year will be their last.

"I did tell them we may keep the choir up because that represents each of our children and grand children," said Ethlyn.

The Unger's only request is that if you have any pictures of their house from over the years they would love a copy dropped in their mailbox so they can make a scrapbook of the memories.

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