TYLER, TX (KLTV) - An entire neighborhood worth of tradition has spread Christmas cheer to anyone who drives through it, for nearly 20 years. But who’s behind it?
“It’s really a hobby that’s gone wild over the years,” Christmas tree man Jack Corley says.
For those who live in the Highland’s neighborhood in Tyler, it’s become a necessity to have one of these trees in your yard.
“We’ve been in the home more than 10 years and so when we moved in, it was like a holiday tradition that everyone in the neighborhood have a tree,” neighbor Jeanie Winbarger says.
There are over 100 beautifully lit trees line the streets. They’re pretty, and there are so many colors, you have the LEDs, regular incandescent.
Jack Corley, along with his wife, built their home 40 years ago and have always believed in neighborhood comradery.
“He is like the major connector of our whole neighborhood and he really watches out for all of us and he talks to everybody, he’s been here a long time, I see him up and down the street, just talking, caring for people, helping people, he’s just a real caring person," Winbarger says.
For 20 years, Jack has strung up lights to make Christmas trees.
“I’ve had a lot of fun doing it, you get to meet a lot of wonderful people in Tyler, Texas, there are a lot of nice people. That’s part of it too, they get to know you and they call me the Christmas tree man sometimes,” Corley says.
The Christmas tree man believes these trees are a friendly reminder of what this holiday is truly about.
“Jesus Christ, that is what it is all about, that’s what you want to keep in mind, it’s not the trees, it’s not the gifts or whatever, its Jesus Christ, and that is what Christmas means to us,” Corley says.
But, Jack is 77 years old now, and 10-foot-tall trees are beginning to look taller and taller.
“My knees are telling me I cannot climb that ladder, so not too many more years,” Corley says.
"We just love all the decorations and the lights so if Jack retires we are hoping someone will take up the tradition. I think we could learn to put it up on our own, but we really love it when Jack and Jack come by and say hey, let’s put up your tree,” Winbarger says.
Jack Corley says he would be happy to build anyone one of his trees, not just for people that live in the neighborhood. He believes he’s still got a few good years of building left in him.