For 18 years, the Miller family has put in elaborate Christmas shows complete with visits to Santa.
But the Brookswood residents may have to stop their beloved annual event at 20169 32nd Ave.
Cindy and Dereck Miller and their family have been dealing with crises that would hobble people with less Christmas spirit in their hearts, including her mother's death, cancer, strokes, significant surgeries, and other health problems.
Last year they posted online that there wasn't going to be a public display for 2012.
This year they were only going to allow some invited groups, like the autistic kids who have come for about eight years and seniors homes.
But people started showing up, even when the site isn't open.
Typically, the family starts readying the display during the summer, because of all the work involved. Then electrical testing starts in October.
This year, they didn't start putting out displays until December.
Hearing about their trouble, the Cannon family, which puts on a display on 42nd Avenue to raise money for Cops for Cancer, sent over a crew to help with setup.
Until Dec. 23, the Millers' walkthrough site featured visits with Santa, popcorn, and hot chocolate, in addition to thousands of lights and whimiscal displays, even though they could only put out about half of the items they have amassed.
Well, it's become too much for the family, which also foots the bill.
The outdoor electrical hookup alone uses about $1,700 in electricity, not including the 200 amps drawn from the house.
In the past, they've given out toys to kids who visit Santa, and in recent years started giving out poinsettias to seniors.
This year, hours were curtailed to 6: 30-9 p.m., but there were still people there Friday, Dec. 21, until 11 p.m. By 10 p.m., more than 800 people had visited Friday evening, and the family ran out of hot chocolate.
Thankfully, the family has an electrical business, meaning the power expertise is in-house, but Dereck has had to be away working in recent months, and the company recently laid off two workers.
"The economy is not changing," Cindy said. "Business is slow for us right now."
The Millers say they need some help.
"It's a big display," Cindy said, "and it's just one family."
They used to live near Stokes Pit, and said that, in the past, people seemed to have more time to help out.
They've been casting about for help for next year. The family can be contacted at bestdrelectric@ shaw.ca.
"If I can't get people out, I can't do it," she said.