Concord's “Mr. Christmas” to End 36-Year Run Lighting Up Holidays

For 36 years, Christmas lights have brought the Concord community together at one home on Olive Drive. For many families, stopping by is an annual tradition.

“I've been coming here since I was probably a teenager and now we're bringing our kids,” Andy Leal said.

The man who lives there, behind the lights, is Bruce Mertz.

However, everyone simply calls him Mr. Christmas.

"There he is!" a child shouted when Mertz walked out of his front door.

Mertz has hung the lights every holiday season for 36 years. When his wife passed away in 1985, he devoted himself to putting up more lights. Now, 50,000 are strewn across his property. Each year, there are more extravagant displays and more smiles from neighbors and their children.

"It kept me occupied. Something to do. So I guess I did a good job” Mertz said laughing.

But it's a lot of work. Mertz just turned 85 this past weekend. He had back surgery in January, and a heart attack in August. He just can’t keep up. So Mertz announced this will be the last year he’ll decorate his home.

"It’s sad to see him stop," Jackie Kouhi said. "He’s one of a kind.”

On Monday night, hundreds of neighbors organized and came out to see his home once more.

"This is beyond words,” Mertz said of the turnout.

Most of all, they came out to say thank you to a man who brought them together in Christmas cheer for so many years.

"He just said a couple minutes ago that this was better than a funeral, I'd hope so,” Kouhi said.

"They all came out in force, and really showed me what a community spirit is like,” Mertz said.

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