NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

December 24, 2012

A glowing tradition

Holiday spectacle strings together four generations

BY DYKE HENDRICKSON
STAFF WRITER

---- — NEWBURYPORT — The fourth generation of Sheehans has now made its mark on the family’s 22,000-bulb holiday light display.

The Sheehans have been producing the elaborate spectacle for more than a decade — first on Plummer Avenue and now at their home on Rawson Hill Road, near Anna Jaques Hospital.

The crew putting up the colorful presentation has included patriarch Arthur Sheehan, grandfather Tim Sheehan, current manager Chris Sheehan, and now the Sheehan youngsters, Tim, 3, and Matthew, 1.

“We’re happy to pass on the tradition to the boys,” said Chris Sheehan, a 2000 Newburyport High School graduate who went on to the Air Force Academy.

“My father had the display on Plummer Avenue and this is about the fourth year we’ve had it on Rawson Hill.”

Sheehan’s wife, Emily, said, “It’s a family event and even though the boys are young, we like to include them in helping with the display.”

Others contributing include Chris Sheehan’s brother, Patrick, and friends Jeff Stone and Nick Notargiacomo.

Family members said the display was inspired by a scene from the “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” movie of about 10 years ago.

The Sheehans each year kick off the display shortly after Thanksgiving with a lighting ceremony that draws scores of viewers.

Throughout the season, the family collects donations for the Toys for Tots program. So far this year, they have accumulated more than 70 items and close to $1,000 in contributions.

In clear weather, the lights are on from 5 to 8 p.m.

Those getting close to the house can tune in on a local frequency and hear music synced with the kinetic lighting.

“I am not an electrician, but I am getting to be an amateur one,” said Chris Sheehan, whose “day job” is as a manager for Raytheon Company.