No need to wonder what inspired Fred Deacy's obsession with Christmas -- past, present and future.
He cheerfully admits National Lampoon's movie about Clark Griswold's determination to make his house outshine the neighbors' is a favorite.
"Growing up, I loved that Chevy Chase movie, Christmas Vacation. I always said I was going to do my house like that," said the Richland man.
The Deacys' house may not be visible from space, but it certainly is one of the most decorated on the block.
Fred Deacy and his wife, Courtney, began decorating their home at 2021 Greenbrook Blvd., in the Meadow Springs area, in early November.
"Remember that first snowfall? We were outside decorating when it was coming down," he said.
Both have been bitten hard by the holiday decorating bug. They began the first year they married in 1999, and never looked back.
Each year they add a few more lights, a reindeer or two, another cartoon figure.
"We hit the sales the day after Christmas to see what we can find to add for the next year," Fred Deacy said.
Their enthusiasm is catching.
Just blocks away, on Broadmoor Street, his brother-in-law, Mike McGuire, has turned his holiday decor up a notch this year.
"He set the bar for me and the neighbors. It's contagious, even in a recession," McGuire said.
Though McGuire and his wife, Shaley, have another reason to ramp up their home's bling this year. Their eldest daughter, Dabne, 7, had hip surgery at Children's Hospital in Seattle just after Thanksgiving.
Dabne's doing well but "we wanted to put the magic in the holiday for her this year," said Shaley McGuire.
Shaley McGuire, with help from Dabne and her sister, Dempsi, 5, began stringing lights before Thanksgiving.
"Our youngest, Dublin, tried to help too but he's only 3 so he mainly pointed. But my two girls were right out there," Shaley McGuire said.
Bruce Hugo of West Richland also had help from his daughter, Alys Lim. She is living in an apartment in Seattle but came home for Thanksgiving and stayed to help her dad put up their Christmas dragon.
Yes, fire-spewing dragon.
"About four years ago my dad and I went crazy with outdoor lights," she said. "We put them everywhere. One of us even tossed a string up into one of the trees and how it landed, it looked like a dragon head."
The next year the decorating duo strung ropes from tree to tree making an outline of a dragon. Then they wrapped the ropes with LED lights.
Additional LED lights, red ones, were added to simulate flames. A white-wire reindeer borrowed from a neighbor and fastened by the dragon's head completed their unconventional holiday display.
"The neighbors love it; I think my mom does too. But she likes to pretend we're crazy," Lim said.
The Hugos live at 4303 Winners Circle, but their yard runs along Bombing Range Road. The dragon -- about 60 feet from head to tail -- is plainly visible from the road.
"We can see the people driving by slow down and lo-o-o-k," Lim said. "You can almost hear them saying, what's that? Especially now, Dad added a sequencer that times the lights on the flames so they look like they're shooting out instead of being on all the time."
The Hugos plan to enjoy their Christmas dragon through the holidays, then turn off the lights for a few weeks.
It will fly again Jan. 23 -- on Chinese New Year.