Merry “40” Years 

Words By Cheryl Pangborn

On August 6, 2023, Marion and Sarah Alexander, longtime residents of Richmond Hill, celebrated their 40th anniversary. The year prior, Sarah had decided that her tribute to this monumental milestone would be to decorate 40 Christmas trees and have them displayed on her property for Christmas 2023. A big sign would accompany them saying, “Have a very married Christmas #40years.”

Sarah says that Christmas is her absolute favorite so it seemed fitting to honor their anniversary in the special season. “My husband just shook his head, chuckled and said “nothing that you decide to do ever surprises me!””  Some of her friends thought the idea seemed crazy but Sarah was determined to make this anniversary winter wonderland a reality.

While the idea was most certainly unique, the execution of finding 40 Christmas trees and hundreds of lights at a reasonable price was a challenge. “I almost gave up because the cost of the trees and the lights was way over budget,” she says.

Sarah managed to find a few Christmas trees at thrift stores and some were given to her by friends. It wasn’t until January 2023 when she found a 90% off sale and was able to purchase the remaining trees and lights she needed. “Assembling the lights and trees and finding the manpower to put them all up was just phase one. Phase two was getting all the trees lit at the same time which became a group effort,” she explains.

Sarah recruited three of her husband’s employees from his business, Industrial Conveyor Belts, as well as neighbors, their kids, family and friends. She laughs when she tells me, “On our very first run, we plugged 34 trees into one outlet and blew the power on most of them and literally melted some of the extension cords.” This obstacle (nor two back to back weekends of high winds that took down most of the trees) did not deter her however; she brought in an electrician to add more power poles to the energy grid making it much safer and easier to accomplish her goal. With the additional power, she was able to get all 40 trees lit simultaneously and what a joyous moment it was!

The brightly colored trees can be seen throughout her yard, ranging in height from 6 to 12 feet, boasting various colors and themes. She added her traditional Christmas decorations to the yard as well giving it that extra festive flair. Sarah says she’s decided to keep the trees lit 24 hours a day, and always has a new set of lights ready because she can wake up on any given day and find one of the trees having gone dark.

This uncommon way of celebrating an anniversary is definitely keeping Sarah on her toes. She works feverishly to keep her trees cheerful and bright. “I grew up in a small town in South Carolina, in a happy but humble setting, yet it never stopped us from having the merriest holidays. I just couldn’t think of a better time of year, or way to recognize the long time commitment of our marriage. It brings heartfelt joy to us and hopefully to everyone who sees the display!”

From the Alexander’s to all of you—may you have a very merry and blessed Christmas!

Editor’s Note: Toy donations are being collected at MacAljon on Highway 17 for needy children.