Columbia light display has a unique purpose

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COLUMBIA - Back in 2009, Ryan Schultz began decorating his house with thousands of Christmas lights each year. 

"It was our family tradition growing up, driving around looking at Christmas lights each year as a family," Schultz said. "What I wanted to do here was create that tradition for other families and make this an annual stop every year."

Schultz's house is located on El Cortez Drive. The set-up usually takes him about two weeks. 

Now, seven years later, his house has earned the nickname "Candy Cane Crib" with a Facebook page of over 4,000 likes. 

"I started with just doing the roof, red and white stripes, then started adding a little more each year," Schultz said. "To make it memorable for people, I wanted to put a name to it, so Candy Cane Crib came about with the red and white stripes, and I give away candy canes to the kids each year."

Last year, Schultz began giving his donations to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Columbia. 

"Anything I raise, it all goes to them," Schultz said. "People used to come to me and offer donations for my electricity, but I didn't do it for that reason, I did it for the kids and families to come and enjoy the lights."

Schultz is well known around the neighborhood too. He helps other people put up their lights. 

"Originally, I started doing that to make some extra money to put into this, to make it a little bigger, but now I've gotten a few businesses to help me with buying some of the lights."

Schultz puts up signs around his property for the visitors to sign each year. 

"I like to be able to see what kind of traffic comes through here," said Schultz. "Last year I filled up four signs with signatures, and this year I've already gone through two."

Schultz said the best gift he receives is seeing the people enjoy it. 

"It puts a smile on my face; they are the whole reason I do it. I wanted to create something that a kid wants to come to every single year."

 Candy Cane Crib will be open through New Year's.