Rob Scheiltler jokes that his family is known as the Griswolds of Le Mars, Iowa – and he’s not kidding. But let’s put Le Mars aside for a second, as they might be in the running for the Griswolds of the entire state of Iowa or possibly the Midwest.
For the 27th year in a row, the Scheitler property is adorned with thousands of holiday lights and Christmas decorations. And they now have over two hundred thousand lights. It’s all on one property, run by one family, who legitimately knows more about extension cords and circuit breakers than Clark ever did.
Where is Christmas Acres located and when is it open?
Christmas Acres is located at 18481 Impala Ave., seven miles west of Le Mars, Iowa. For 2023, the season opens on Friday, Nov 17th at 5pm and runs through Dec 31st. Each night, weather permitting, the lights are on from 5 pm to 10 pm. The lights are NOT on display during rain or heavy snow, you can call 712-533-6176 to check on the status.
What can you expect at Christmas Acres?
This family-run Christmas display has been running on their property for 26 years and continues to grow. Everything is decorated. All 37 trees, 57 bushes, and every available piece of the fence line. The grounds also contain 800 blow molds and 164 lighted sculptures. Many of the pieces are vintage blow molds – the type that will instantly bring you back in time, perhaps to recall the decorations your grandparents had on display.
You’re also able to park along the gravel road and enter the grounds, as there are designated walkways that lead to specific sculptures and displays. On Friday and Saturday nights, the garage becomes a bake shop, which appears to get a ton of traffic. I’ve heard they have cookies, pies, and even local honey in the bake shop.
On the weekends, you may also find the Scheitlers standing at the end of their driveway, handing out candy canes to youngsters who roll down their window as they drive by the display.
How did Christmas Acres get started?
Rob recalls hanging Christmas lights on the fence of his childhood farm. His Dad would come out and help with the decorations. When Rob and Joyce moved into their home on Impala Ave twenty-six years ago, they started decorating the fence line and the grounds and named it Christmas Acres. Each year, the display got larger and larger. People started driving by their house just to see the lights, and eventually, the local newspaper ran an article on their display. And it has continued to grow ever since.
Where do they get all these decorations?
Most of the decorations are donated. However, Rob does spend money and time on replacing all of the lights – as they are all LED lights.
The setup of the decorations takes about 3 months. Yes, 3 months. Due to the size of the display, the setup starts as early as August. The takedown lasts about one month.
How much is the monthly electrical bill for Christmas Acres?
Rob estimates that their electric bill is about $350 extra per month. A few years ago, individuals kept offering donations to help cover their electrical bills. However, the Scheitlers turned down the money – they wanted the display to be about bringing joy to others. However, the donation offers continued, and they decided that they would take donations and 100% of the proceeds would be directed to the local charity, the Christian Needs Center.
Is there a cost? Do they take donations?
There is NO cost, the display is free. At the end of the driveway is a free-will donation box – and 100% of the proceeds go to the Christian Needs Center in Le Mars. The Christian Needs Center helps provide food, clothing, and other essentials to families in need. Last year, the donations raised $41,000 for the Christian Needs Center.