By Alicia Venter
This holiday season, a home along the waterfront in West Hamilton Beach holds “a million and a half lights of illusions.”
Visitors will be welcome to the sight of hand-painted decorations of Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, the Tasmanian Devil, the Grinch, Sindy Lou Hou — and more.
The owner of the house at 102-24 Rau Court, Michael Giglio, asks only one thing from any ongoer who visits his illuminated home:
“Get the hell out of your car,” he said.
Giglio sits outside his home every night to put his lights on for the community. He wants the people to come and talk to him, share their stories and participate in the experience. He offers candy to all children who visit him, and he wants to give out more.
He is always there — weather permitting.
“If it is raining, Mr. Giglio will not be turning on the lights,” he emphasized.
Monday through Thursday, lights are on from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. Friday through Sunday, lights begin at 6:00 p.m., and remain on for an undetermined amount of time. Giglio will keep them on until 2:00 a.m., he shared, if there are people enjoying the lights.
Since he was 21, Michael Giglio has been decorating his homes in New York with as many decorations as he could create and as many lights as he could muster across his lawn. He started in a rental home in Richmond Hill on 104th Street, and since retiring from the Department of Environmental Protection, he has been able to put more energy into his decorations.
In what he describes as “a Christmas decoration of art,” Giglio has been putting on his light show for over 30 years in love for his community.
The newest addition to the home is a Christmas shop, where visitors can purchase a variety of items including reindeer ears,
Giglio has a donation box in front of the house, of which 70 percent of the proceeds will go to an undetermined charity.
On Dec. 10, from 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m, Giglio is holding the “Great Cupcake Giveaway,” where one kid will get a chocolate chip cupcake with sprinkles and a bag of candy.
On Dec. 17, the “big fat man himself,” Santa Claus will be giving away free candy to visitors and interacting with the visitors.
Once, the two daughters of Giglio asked him why he put such effort into decorating his home, to which he replied with a deep laugh: “Because once Santa Claus flies over our house, he’s not going to miss it.”
Giglio, who describes himself as “Vintage Mike” because of his connection to his oldest self-made decorations, continues every year with his decorations for both his community and for a personal reason.
“I still haven’t met my destiny,” he shared.
GigThis destiny is to be featured on the Great Christmas Light Fight, a television show that displays the best Christmas displays created by families across the United States. A $50,000 reward is offered to the best home that year — a reward Giglio wants.
Giglio lives by the water, but refuses to let the fear of flooding prevent him from his passion of decorating for the holiday season. Instead, he gets creative — each of his decorations sit at least a foot above the ground to prevent damage.
Giglio “asks out of his heart” for people to tell friends, family and neighbors to travel to Beach 1, tucked away near JFK Airport, to visit his winter wonderland light show.