CLAXTON, GA (WTOC) - Smith Street in Claxton gets a whole lot brighter this time of year, and that’s because of a lady by name of Reba Vanmeter.
Reba Vanmeter has lived in Claxton for most of her life. She raised her four boys there and always took them to see Christmas lights, but there was only one house where you could see them.
“You had to get in this long line and wait your turn to ride by this one house, but she had it so pretty,” Vanmeter said. “She had her little carolers singing and that was it.”
That’s when Reba decided there needed to be more lights for children to enjoy. She started her Christmas lights display with only a manger scene, and added on year after year.
“If I saw an extra cow that was left over somewhere or on sale or clearance or something, I’d grab it up and we would have some extra animals in our nativity scene, and that just tickled me,” she said.
Her sons, grandchildren, and friends all help her put up the lights each year. She says it’s important to her because every child needs somewhere close to home to see lights.
“There are a many of child who don’t have transportation to get to these other places and go see them, and we want every one of them to get to enjoy Santa Claus and get the joy out of Christmas,” Vanmeter said.
It’s not only for the kids, though. Reba says even older people love to ride by and look at the lights. She has a few older ladies in the neighborhood who ride by every day.
“They will come riding by, you know. They are just so sweet, and they will come by every day riding and see what Kevin’s got out,” she said. “They’ll stop and tell him, 'now Kevin, don’t move our little penguins now. Put them back out here right where we can see them.”
She leaves the lights on around the clock because many people have different work schedules. She wants to make sure everyone gets a chance to see them. This year, Reba also added a donation box for the Evans County Food Bank.
“We wanted to do something always for the community. Like I said, we know it’s been a hard year, and we know a lot of people have been laid off in places and things, and so we wanted to do something to help.”
If you talk to anyone in the community. they’ll tell you Reba not only lights up Claxton with her Christmas lights, but also with her witty jokes and joyful spirit.