Bill & Sandra Montgomery's The Christmas House
Chances are if you’ve ever driven I-26 toward Exit 5 (Campobello) during this time of year you’ve noticed a cheery glow up the hill on the right. It’s impossible to miss. And for thousands of people each year, they take that exit and within minutes jumpstart their Christmas spirit. You can’t help but be moved by this incredible display of holiday lights and scenes at Bill & Sandra Montgomery’s “The Christmas House.”
Bill & Sandra look forward to the Christmas season just about as much as kids – and maybe more. It’s in Sandra’s DNA for sure and somehow or other that has taken hold in Bill.
Bill and Sandra do this for the enjoyment of others and to help remind everyone that we’re celebrating the birthday of Jesus. Sandra says, “That’s what Christmas is all about. We want to keep traditions going and to keep family close. We want something families can do to help keep them connected to each other.”
The Christmas House opens every year on Thanksgiving night and closes on New Year’s Eve. Hours are 5:30 until 10, though if you’re in line at 10…Bill keeps it open. There is no charge. Visitors can leave a donation and often Bill and Sandra will find coins left by a child in a plastic bag in the donation box or a hand-scribbled note or card. They love to read how much the children, and the adults, love this place.
If you weren’t in the holiday mood before driving in, you will be by the time you leave. And as many people do, they get back in line and go through again…and again. And you can be sure they’re already planning to be back next year. Looking into the future, Sandra wistfully mentions that she has a daughter and a granddaughter that are showing a sincere interest in keeping The Christmas House going for another 45 years and beyond.
Bill has a tagline he uses on his occasional videos he posts, and that is “Come out and see the lights and hear the sounds of Christmas at The Christmas House.” I can assure you, the invitation is genuine.
We’re the lucky ones.
More to Know
The Christmas House is located at 360 Foster Road, Inman. Your GPS will bring you right there but if that starts to fizzle, you can’t miss it. The Montgomery’s do ask that all visitors remain in their car because of plenty of trip hazards. You can ride through as many times as you wish and look for your favorite scenes from last year and new ones that are added each year.
Photo Gallery. Click each photo to see an enlarged version. Better yet, drive over to 360 Foster Road in Inman between now and December 31.
Fast-forward several decades and LJ and his boys were visiting the South Carolina State Fair in Columbia. LJ steered his sons to the barn with the birds and they loved seeing all the different types and colors and sizes. But when the boys learned that birds could be raced their eyes lit up and LJ knew they were hooked. That led to LJ starting his first loft and the entire family enjoyed raising and racing the birds. LJ and his family continued to race birds for several years but as the boys started to outgrow their interest, LJ’s excitement never waned.
The dove releases can symbolize all kinds of things depending on the event. It’s not always easy as some occasions are very sad and others joyous. But watching a release has an impact on everyone who witnesses it. His Homeward Angels reach into your soul. The dove release can help bring closure on one day and it can mark the beginning of something new on another. LJ says, “It’s not about the birds but about the symbolism and the birds are the conveyance of that special meaning.” Everyone who sees or participates in one of LJ’s white dove releases comes away a changed person. It’s a great feeling.
More to know
LJ Meyers provides professional white dove releases for private and public events and ceremonies. Fees depend on travel distance, number of birds requested, and any special services LJ might need to provide. He is, by the way, an ordained minister. LJ does a lot of releases as a community service at no charge. Photos are from a recent 9/11 ceremony and a Veterans Day release. You can contact LJ at 864/ 457-4676 (home), 864/ 357-5581 (cell), by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. His website is: HomewardAngelsWhiteDoves.com. LJ is a member of the National White Dove Release Society.
A sample of a release. This is from an impromptu Veterans Day release L J provided in Landrum.
You can also see the video by clicking this link. This might help if the video below is slow to load.
L J recruited a few kids to help him with an unannounced dove release on Veterans Day at the Veterans Memorial in Brookwood Park in Landrum, SC.
Click on each photo below to see an enlarged version and captions.
Is starting out retirement with this new endeavor - to bring you short snippets of life through photography, videography, and audio recordings of some of the wonderful people and places of the Carolina Foothills..