The Life of an Outdoor Illuminator

For most people, “Up on the housetop, click click click” provokes images of reindeer and good Saint Nick, but to Cody Gilcrease of The Perfect Light, it reminds him how much work needs to be done. He’s spent many hours installing Christmas lights on rooftops around Texas. He hasn’t jumped down any chimneys, but he does make sure the custom displays feel like a magical gift straight from the North Pole.

Gilcrease started out as a landscape lighting installer and quickly moved up to holiday lighting, then to sales and design. Now, he handles myriad responsibilities for a company that has perfected every step of the holiday lighting process.

From simple residential decor to commercial sites with millions of LED lights set to music, Gilcrease says he wants everyone to have the best experience possible which means there’s no typical day at the office for him.

His holiday season starts as early as August, coordinating installations with existing customers and scheduling appointments with new ones. Gilcrease may draw on his sales experience and meet with a potential client to discuss design. “Being electrically savvy, we can design and install anything anyone can dream up,” Gilcrease says.

“We’ll pull out all the stops or just hit the high points—it’s up to the customer,” Gilcrease says of the wide range of choices, “We can do it all, but the door should be the brightest. It’s got to welcome you in.”

“Whatever it takes,” he says, however that doesn’t include untangling last year’s garland. That pesky task is left to the client. It might also include working with licensed electricians to protect their clients’ sparkling investments.

“No one wants to turn on a blow dryer and take down their whole light display,” Gilcrease says.

By making the process as well-managed as possible, Gilcrease and team resemble another well-known, well-coordinated—but significantly shorter—group of Christmas cheer-bringers. Just don’t expect pointy hats.

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