By Michelle Wagner | Outer Banks Voice on December 5, 2022
Daryl and Verdery Hood of Grandy represent the essence of holiday spirit and for 17 years now, they have used their creative talents to transform their home and yard into a Christmas wonderland.
Their holiday display at 173 Carolina Club Drive features more than 80,000 lights that illuminate Christmas scenes that showcase their artistic gifts, made of plywood decorations cut out by Daryl and hand painted by Verdery. And each year, the couple adds more to their display that not only spreads holiday cheer, but also tells the story of their lives together.
“What I’m excited about is the same thing that I feel every year, and that is the looks on the children’s faces,” Daryl said. “As I have never had kids, it is especially good for my heart to see their joy.”
The Hoods have their display going until 10 p.m. each night through Jan. 5.
As animal lovers who have lots of dogs and cats, the Hoods also have festive plywood dogs and cats popping out of presents and stockings decked with Santa hats. The jumping dolphins following Santa’s boat was an idea that was born after the Hoods and Daryl’s mother took their boat to Oregon Inlet 10 years ago. A group of dolphins put on a show and the couple incorporated that experience into their Christmas display.
And Frosty the Snowman, standing at eight feet tall with his two helpers, is supposed to be Daryl, Verdery and her sister.
The Santa driving the boat, hooked up to a team of nine reindeer, is set up in the lot next to the Hoods’ home. Behind the boat are about 4,000 blue lights that resemble water. Santa’s boat is coming through an enchanted forest of 20 trees that Daryl made from plywood, with each tree having 1,000 different colored lights. On top of the water are two Cypress Garden water skiers and the three Christmas dolphins jumping behind the boat.
Daryl, who estimates it takes roughly 60 to 80 hours to set up the decorations, told the Voice that this year’s display includes some new must-see items — including stars for the tops of all the trees and more lights in front of the boat and around the reindeer.
“There is also the addition of three really, really pretty, and dare I say, kinda sexy elves, with presents hanging out in the enchanted forest,” he added.
“I got it done kinda early, so I am thinking about what else I can add. But either way it looks really beautiful,” Daryl said.
The Hoods ask that because they have a lot of lights and cords on the ground, that visitors and passersby view the display from the street. “They are welcome to get out and walk around, but I’d rather they didn’t walk through the display,” he added.
And as Daryl told the Voice last year, “I’ve always been into Christmas and my wife has always been into Christmas. We got married twenty-four years ago. And then it was like two stars collided.”