A Silver Spring resident has decorated his home with inflatables for the past five years and turned his Christmas display into a holiday destination event for local children and families during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the pandemic started, Greg Lisa has shown off his collection of more than 80 inflatables from right after the Thanksgiving holiday until the first week of January. A narwhal, a pig and an elephant are some of the stars of his collection, accumulated by waiting for post-Christmas sales.
Lisa has two teenage children who grew up seeing him go above and beyond for Christmas — including stamping reindeer hoof prints on the roof — and wanted to spread that cheer to neighborhood children.
Right around the Christmas holiday, he holds a Christmaspalooza event for neighborhood families. This year’s Christmaspalooza event will be 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Lisa’s home on Forest Glen Court, off Forest Glen Road.
“Christmas should be magical, and kids don’t get enough magic these days,” he said.
The event will include small gift giveaways for children in attendance, including lanterns and candy cane lollipops. Lisa holds the event with the help of his “elf,” aka best friend Chris Rutledge, and he dresses up in a Santa outfit to give out goodies to the kids.
Lisa said it takes him a couple of days to put the display up and take it down, but he doesn’t leave the inflatables up all day. He turns them off at night or if it gets too windy.
Lisa said the biggest motivation to hold the event is to put smiles on local children’s faces.
“You see some of these kids like dragging their parents here day after day,” he said. “It’s a beautiful family across the street, and they come every single day to see it and the little kid comes up and he hugs some of them. What kid doesn’t want that magic? That’s why I do it, I think it’s spectacular to see them and it gives them the opportunity to come out, get a little lantern from Santa Clause.”
Although children tend to interact with the inflatables, Lisa urges them not to walk on the lawn as there are many cords that could be a hazard to navigate .
While the free event is supposed to end at 8 p.m., Lisa said it could be longer depending on the number of children who attend.