Roswell man displays Christmas spirit

Fred Jakobsen’s yard filled with lights, activity



ROSWELL, Ga. – Every neighborhood has that one guy who really goes all-out with the Christmas lights and displays that dwarf the efforts of the rest of the neighbors. But these guys aren’t a patch on the lengths to which Roswell resident Fred Jakobsen goes.

Jakobsen’s Roswell home sits on a 2-acre lot, so he fills the street front where his two-car garage sits with a panorama of Christmas delights – not that his house’s yard isn’t filled with traditional lights.

And this year is huge even by Jakobsen standards. Not only is the yard and one bay of his garage filled with Christmas lights and figurines, he has added an 8-by-24-foot cargo trailer with Santa’s Workshop, Santa’s Village and a Santa musical quintet playing holiday music.

“My 85-year-old dad came up to help me set up the display. But the good part about it is I don’t have to take it down. I’ll just close the flaps and park it behind my garage,” Jakobsen said.

The garage is now the Winter Wonderland with 40 or 50 pounds of shredded plastic as a convincing bed of snow.

Giant tree ornaments, yard-sized figurines and trees fill the garage bay. Meanwhile, Santa’s Workshop and Santa’s Village are housed in three-fourths of the trailer, with the last quarter housing the Santa quintet of Jolly Old Elves playing musical instruments and singing carols.

He caught the Christmas spirit when he was just a child and his family had a big train circling the Christmas tree and decorations everywhere. Now, he says he gets a charge out of people who come to see his display.

“There is nothing better than watching a kid smile,” Jakobsen said.

He has been doing this since 1987 – except during a hiatus when he was a corporate gypsy. Today, he is more comfortable about devoting so much time and energy. He started more than a month ago. His parents, who are in their 80s, came up to help.

Dad helped revamp the trailer to “elf” size, and Mom gave them moral support along with Jakobsen’s wife, Darlene, whom he concedes has been very understanding about his passion for this.

“They support what I do,” he said.

The neighbors seem to get a kick out Jakobsen’s seeming excesses.

“It is typical of the guy,” said neighbor Carl Carlson. Pointing to the trailer, he added, “This is an amazing addition.”

Neighbor Betty Lee agrees.

“It’s wonderful. He does more every year,” Lee said.

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