Gatchell family turns on the holiday spirit

The Gatchell house is an annual holiday treat. —File photo by Robert Gatchell

Continuing a 36-year tradition, at 5 pm on Thanksgiving evening Lynn and Robert Gatchell of Oak Bluffs will hit the switch on thousands of Christmas lights, along with a holiday decoration lineup that includes flying reindeer, candy canes, talking Santas, a toy train, choir people, penguins, and a nativity set outside their home on County Road.

The official lighting does more than delight passersby. It is also the kickoff to the family’s donation drive for the Island Food Pantry.

The Gatchell house is at 148 County Road in Oak Bluffs, between the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital and the Oak Bluffs fire station. The light display will be on from 5 to 8 pm until a week before Christmas, when hours will be extended to 5 to 9 pm. Mr. Gatchell said Santa and Mrs. Claus plan to stop by for a few hours on Christmas Eve, weather permitting.