“People need some joy,” local Christmas light company seeing busiest year yet despite COVID-19

The Lincoln Light Guy has been in the capital city for five years and despite COVID-19, he's having his busiest year to date.

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Winter months are here and the holiday season is just weeks away, but is it too soon to start hanging up those Christmas lights and mistletoe?

“The earlier the better is the motto at our house,” says Hali Durst, a mother and homeowner in east Lincoln. On Wednesday, The Lincoln Light Guy was at her home hanging her lights for the Christmas season.

“I love bringing cheer to people, and it’s just fun, you get to work outside all day and meet all kinds of people. It’s just a wonderful thing,” says Michael Battles – also know as “The Lincoln Light Guy,” a name given to him by his wife. “It just sort of stuck.”

This year is Battles’ fifth season hanging Christmas lights across the city. However, despite the pandemic, Battles says this has been his busiest year yet – and it’s only mid-November.

“Our first year we did about 50 houses, last year we did 150,” Battles says. “This year we’re on pace to do about 250.” Battles can speculate as to why he’s seen an uptick in calls so early in the season. 

“We haven’t been this busy this early and I think it’s because of the way things are going with the world right now. They want some joy and some cheer, and people really like seeing us.”

Durst, one of Battles’ first customers, agrees.

“2020 has been difficult for everyone, and so to rejoice and celebrate the reason for the season, this is a great opportunity to do that,” she says.

Close 90% of his customers want their lights up before Thanksgiving, Battles says. This year, he and his crew even did 30 homes before Halloween. They begin hanging lights on October 1, and offer a discount to those who put their lights up before the end of October. Battles says that’s because the weather is nicer and it is safer for Battles and his employees.  

Durst says for her family, it’s all about tradition. “He loves what he does and you can totally tell that. I think we all need a little extra Christmas cheer a little early this year,” she says.

Battles is glad to be part of those traditions for families across Lincoln.

“You really get to see the families grow. They get excited to see you, you call them they know exactly who you are. It’s just like a big family really,” he says.

Battles says family is important to him, and it’s another reason why he loves his business so much. His son and nephew are both employees and he hopes that someday his 3 and 4-year old grand kids will join him too.

Battles says his son and other employees are also veterans, and expressed his extra thanks to them for working hard on Veterans Day.

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