June 25, 2016


Christmas magic is in the air

Don Cartier poses amid his Disney-themed Christmas decorations Tuesday. His nightly Christmas display begins 7 p.m. Nov. 24 and runs 7 to 9 nightly until New Year's Eve. (LOREN GENSON / GAZETTE)

MEDINA — The man with the “Christmas House” on Alexandria Lane is gearing up for an even bigger show this year.

Don Cartier’s Christmas magic returns this year with music, a movie and light show in the theme of Disney’s “It’s a Small World.”

Cartier and his wife Kathleen are known for their annual Christmas display that lights up the night from Thanksgiving to January.

This year is his fifth effort and Cartier is making it the biggest show yet.

He’s also spreading his special brand of holiday cheer to downtown Medina by heading up the redesign of the city’s holiday light show on Public Square.

At his home, this year’s show includes recorded performances from a cast that includes Cartier’s three dogs, Murphy, Beasley and Sissy, and a neighbor’s dog, Cupcake.

Using computer software, Cartier carefully animated the dog’s mouths to make them “sing” songs on a high-definition screen in an upstairs window.

Cartier expects the dogs to be the big showstoppers.

“This is going to be the first year we have the dogs performing,” he said.

Visitors also will be able to catch a glimpse of Santa and Mrs. Claus, the Fairy Godmother and Santa’s elves in the windows. Cartier and his wife play two of the elves and a family friend is the Godmother. Cartier won’t reveal the identity of Santa or Mrs. Claus.

Motorists stopping by Alexandria Drive to see the show won’t have to lower their windows to hear the soundtrack. They can listen to the show inside their cars on 100.5 FM.

Cartier’s home decorations started as three icicle lights on pine trees. Now, his neighbors participate by linking their own lighting into his display.

“They just do their lights however they want, and then we connect it into the show,” he said.

Cartier uses Animation Director computer software to manage the lights from inside the house. He said he only uses red, green and white.

“The way Disney designs, they’re all about presentation,” Cartier said. “I keep it basic, only three colors.”

This year will be the first in which he uses LED lights. He said he hopes it will be a little brighter for the viewers.

The lights slowly fade by about 30 percent during the course of the 20-minute show, only to glow brightly for the finale.

“That has a much greater effect than just using a lot of color,” Cartier said.

Anyone who has seen his show knows Cartier, 55, isn’t a beginner. His hobby is designing home theaters.

His day job? He pilots Boeing 767 jetliners.

Cartier puts an enormous amount of time and money into his annual Christmas displays. He said it’s worth it.

“I really, really enjoy the people’s reaction to the show, especially the kids,” he said.

His shows are more than entertainment. During the broadcast, the Cartier family encourages visitors to donate to the Medina County Humane Society and the Toys for Tots organization.

“I don’t make any money off this,” he said. “Being huge animal lovers, we just want to promote (the humane society) and, of course, Toys for Tots is an organization to help kids at Christmas.”

Cartier’s Christmas Magic is back again this year at 1228 Alexandria Lane off state Route 57 in Medina. The first light-up night, 7 to 9 p.m. Nov. 24, will feature outdoor speakers and a visit from Santa Claus. Afterward, the show will run 7 to 9 each night through New Year’s Eve, and viewers can listen to those shows on the radios in their cars at 100.5 FM.

Contact Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.

Loren Genson About Loren Genson

Loren Genson was The Gazette's senior reporter. From August 2012 through September 2015, she covered Brunswick city and state and national government. To contact The Gazette, call the managing editor at (330) 721-4065.