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Stittsville family creates Elf Christmas lights display


A Christmas-loving Stittsville family is once again transforming their home into a giant tribute to a holiday classic movie for the Christmas season.

"It has been another tough year on everybody but what we get to do, we get to see the smiles and giggles on people's faces, especially kids," Shawn Turcotte says.

The Turcottes found inspiration this year from the modern Christmas movie Elf, starring Will Farrell. The movie tells the story of Buddy the Elf, a man raised as a toy-making elf in the North Pole who goes on a mission to find his father.

“It is one of those movies you can watch, as we have, 30 plus times, and you can find little things to giggle and laugh about. The scene with Will Farrell and the Christmas tree, and it falls over, that part I still howl - I think it is hilarious," Turcotte says.

"When we committed to doing Elf, one thing that we decided if we were going to top last year, we had to go bigger and brighter."

Turcotte and his family are a self-proclaimed movie-loving family. In 2020, they re-created National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and in 2021, the family brought Home Alone alive.

Turcotte says this year, they let the community decide what movie to do. Despite Turcotte’s goal of Die Hard, the decided on Elf.

You can see their display at 18 Cypress Gardens from down the street with its 4,000 lights and 75 different signs. There is also a giant sleigh, a replica of Santa’s in the movie, in the front yard and a New York City taxi in the driveway.

Turcotte says various local businesses helped with some of the props, but the taxi was sourced from Toronto and repainted by his employer Cavanagh Construction.

The sleigh was a labour of love. Turcotte created a plan, found the lumber, and put nearly 150 hours of hard work in to build it.

"We looked and we looked across the world for something in size and magnitude that really replicated what was in the movie, but could not find it! So I looked at Chantale (his wife) and said, 'I am just going to build this thing myself.' Took an entire month - 150 hours to build it but we are happy to how it turned out."

Fans of the movie will also notice a 22,000-piece Lego display of the New York City skyline that was built by Ottawa’s ParLUGment Lego Club.

The Turcottes even had to expand into their neighbour’s yard, where they put a 16 ft. piece of lumber with the Empire State Building painted on it.

Turcotte says he also included a costume for himself.

"I dress up as Papa Elf and I expect a lot of Buddy the elves coming by this year that will be a lot taller than me! And want to take some pics and videos and have a good time.”

Neighbours can’t help but stop to take in the display, and drivers slow down as they pass the house.

All the fun and holiday hard work also has a fundraising component. In 2020, they raised $50,000 for the Stittsville Food Bank, and last year they raised $70,000 for youth mental health services at CHEO.

This year, they are fundraising for CHEO.

"This year they are in such dire situation when it comes to viruses, and COVID-19, and influenza, we decided that anything and everything we can do to help raise money to contribute to CHEO that's what we would do," Turcotte said. "That is where we are putting all our fundraising dollars – to CHEO."

There are donation bins in the yard, and a QR code people can scan to donate. Turcotte also says people can donate directly to CHEO.

The display will be bright until the New Year. Top Stories

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