YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Neighborhoods across Ohio are dressed for the holidays, but one family in the Mahoning Valley is decking the halls for a special reason.

What You Need To Know

  • Michael Kermec decorates his home from top to bottom, inside and out, for Christmas
  • The decorations are a tribute to his late mother, who lost a battle with liver cancer in May

  • The Kermec family's outdoor display has about 8,000 lights

Michael Kermec’s home in Girard is decorated for Christmas inside and out. It’s something his mom did to make the season special while he was growing up. 

“She was such a giving person and every year she would get us all to come around, get all the decorations out of the basement, get the whole house pretty much transformed for Christmas,” he said. 

He’s carrying on the tradition in his mother’s memory after she lost her battle with liver cancer earlier this year. 

“The closeness that now it makes me feel with my mom and just relating how what she wanted to give us kids and show us,” he said. 

The decorations are a way to share some excitement about the holidays with his own children, Rayne, 4, and Brody, 13.

Their front yard is a winter wonderland complete with a 20-foot-tall inflatable snowman and dozens of displays.

“We try to recreate little movie scenes,” Michael said. 

It’s all an effort to share some Christmas cheer with the community.

“The kids get all excited when they see other cars stopping,” he said. 

The project provided him with a purpose. 

“In my daytime job. I’m a banker,” he said. “So, it’s not that exciting. The lights really, once I got off work, it was something to look forward to.”

It was also a way to bring the family together. 

“I always thought I was a good decorator until I got with him and he showed me up,” said his wife, Ashley.

The display is a way to shine a light on memories of Christmases past to help keep Michael’s mother’s memory alive. 

“She fell in love with everything that Christmas was about,” Michael said. “The lights, giving, seeing our faces on Christmas morning. And again it’s just the same for me watching my kids enjoy it all.”