Impressive Christmas light display in south Huntsville a dream come true for creator, tradition for area families

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT)-- Standing tall, a castle rises out of the darkness at 7826 Horseshoe Trail in Huntsville.

Dr. John Higginbotham designed it.

"A man's home is his castle, and obviously Santa's home is his castle," he said of the display, modeled to transform his home into a Christmas castle. Santa sits on the front porch. Nearby, a carousel turns and the Polar Express chugs on.

It's part of his Christmas village. Little houses line Higginbotham's driveway, each with a theme. There's one for Garfield, Peanuts characters, Mickey Mouse, and more.

He creates a display every year, but this year's is special to him. It's been a dream of his for more than seven years.

"I figured if I didn't go ahead and do this now, as I'm aging I'd never get to do it," he said.

He loves every second of watching others enjoy the displays.

"Grandparents, parents, and children are all children, for just a few seconds," he said.

Families like the Martins make coming to see the house a holiday tradition.

They've done it for more than 12 years.

Nyoka Martin said Tuesday, "We come every year. The kids wanted to come today, to see it. We'll come more than once this year."

"The feeling of joy. That's a nice gift to hand out," remarked Higginbotham.

While he doesn't ask for donations, Dr. Higginbotham sends any monetary gifts to Operation Believe through a local organization called Christmas Charities Year Round. That money helps provide less fortunate children, the elderly, and the disabled with gifts and food for the holidays.