DeSoto Resident Is Spreading Cheer With Light Up DeSoto

Christmas lights
DeSoto Christmas Lights by Randy Motes

Randy Motes Is On A Mission To Light Up DeSoto

There are folks who love holiday lights.

And then there’s Randy Motes of DeSoto.

Saying Randy is gaga about holiday lights is like saying the Cookie Monster likes chocolate chips. There’s not a chance Randy lets slip by that he’s not putting up some sort of display in his front yard.

And now he’s getting as many folks throughout DeSoto to join him in a brightly lit celebration of the Christmas season with his project “Light Up DeSoto.”

“It has been great so far,” Randy said. “The post created by Tammie Santos on Nextdoor has 210 likes and 179 comments (as of late November). Several people have said that they would decorate this year. Others said they have put their decorations out early.”

The goal is simple, to light up lawns and show spirit for all to enjoy, Randy said.

“Spread joy and happiness during these COVID times,” he said. “Some of my most fond memories growing up were always driving around the neighborhoods enjoying all the Christmas lights with my family.”

Randy and his wife both grew up DeSoto. His parents moved there in 1976. Her parents also grew up in DeSoto.

Randy moved away for a little while, but home called and he returned in 2012 to his childhood home. He got married in 2017.

Something New Every Year

The Motes’ display has over 20,000 lights. It is synchronized to music, using 48 channels of Light O’ Rama software and hardware.

When you pull up to the house you can tune your car radio to 88.3 FM and “Listen to the Lights.”

“We also play the music outside for those that walk up to the display,” Randy explained. “We custom make make a lot of our own decorations. We also have several inflatables in our display.”

It changes every year, with some moving around of items, along with changing of colors in the lights.

“We are always working on and adding something new, so it definitely looks different each year,” he said.

A Decoration For Every Holiday

The Motes also love decorating at other times, including Halloween and Thanksgiving.

“Halloween has grown to be just as big as Christmas. It has an orange and purple color theme,” he said. “It is also synchronized to Halloween music and has two large pumpkins made of lights that sing to the music. It just makes it fun to see kids’ smiles – adults too – when they come trick-or-treat our house.

“Thanksgiving is really just swapping out our purple bulbs to yellow and adding a ‘Gang’ of six inflatable turkeys to the yard. It gets a lot of looks since a Thanksgiving display is definitely different.”

Randy also decorates the entryway to the subdivision for the neighborhood homeowners association. He has eight other neighbors for whom he decorates their homes as well.

Decorating Increases Joy & Happiness

And now, more than ever in this year of COVID-19, he said decorating is important.

“Most definitely. We need to increase joy and happiness. 2020 has had way too much negativity,” he said.

“At the beginning of COVID several people in the Christmas light groups I’m in put up lights to raise spirits. We decided to put out a little something from every holiday. We called it Happy Merry Everything.”

Which is sort of the feeling behind Light Up DeSoto, the more the merrier.

As for his own personal pleasure, he said, “We really enjoy the smiles it puts on kids’ faces when they see it. Adults too. Plus, I just enjoy doing it and seeing what I have done.”

Randy first became interested in elaborate holiday displays as young as age 10 when he and his mother would decorate their Christmas tree together.

“One year I asked her if we could put lights on the house. She said yes. I have continued to grow it since then,” he said.


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Rick Mauch
Rick Mauch is a veteran of more than four decades in the media. He began writing in high school and immediately went into broadcasting for almost a decade after graduating, working his way to morning drive in Birmingham, Alabama. However, realizing how much he missed writing (though he did continue to do some during his time in top-40 radio), Rick returned to what he loved and has been doing it ever since. Rick's career has spanned a plethora of media outlets, including community journalism, sports, entertainment, politics and more. He's worked in print, broadcast and online media. He also spent several years doing public relations for a children's home in East Texas - still writing on the side, of course. When he's not writing, Rick loves to play golf and do Bigfoot research. He's an avid believer. He also made his first hole-in-one in June of 2020. Rick is married to Junell Mauch. They have five children and three granddaughters