Glendora Home Spreading Christmas Spirit for 50 Years

This marks the 50th year the Wilkins home at 13th and Maple avenues, in Glendora, has been elaborately decorated for Christmas.

Talk to Justin Wilkins for just one minute this time of year and you'll find it's near impossible to resist the Christmas spirit that emanates from the Glendora resident.

This holiday season marks the 50th straight year the Wilkins family's home at 13th and Maple avenues has been covered with Christmas decorations.

Literally. Covered.

Justin Wilkins took over the tradition in 1990, when his father, John, who started the Christmas displays back in 1962, passed away.

"I love kids. I've been doing this for years. I just like to see the smiles on their faces," the 53-year-old said. "It goes right to my heart."

When you look at the number of lights on Wilkins' property and think about the electric bill he must receive each year to put on the Christmas display, you know those smiles must be really important to the Maple Avenue man.

Wilkins' Christmas display electric bills have run around $1,000 in recent years, he said.

It goes without saying that the Wilkins home has become a Christmastime destination point for Gloucester Township and South Jersey families. Even people from beyond New Jersey's borders stop by to marvel at the display.

Gary Prince, of Baltimore, MD, was taking picture of Wilkins' 2012 effort Wednesday night. He was in the area visiting his son-in-law and daughter, Ryan and Lauren Penny, and their newborn, Tyler, at their Runnemede home.

"I literally come here every year," Prince said. "I make a special stop just to see this."

Prince was joined at the Wilkins home early Wednesday evening by John and Dorothy Saicic, of Glendora, who brought two of their grandchildren, Joey and Scarlett, of Glassboro, over to check out the display.

"Every year, we bring them by," Joe Saicic said.

Visiting the Wilkins home certainly appears to be an annual tradition for many in the Gloucester Township area.

"This has been a staple for my family ever since we moved to Gloucester Township 11 years ago," Patch contributor Michelle Wolfson said.

Santa Claus will be at the Wilkins home 6 to 9 p.m. each night through Christmas Eve.

Prince says locals' appreciation for Wilkins' work is warranted.

"It's great people do things like this," he said. "They do it for themselves, sure, but they do it for the community. It goes to show you there really are good people out there. ... Every year, he adds to it. Believe it or not, this is more than last year."

It's a labor of love for Wilkins, a longtime Sun National Bank employee.

"It's a lot of work, but it's from the heart," he said.

Isn't that what Christmas is all about?


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