Although Mike, an IT consultant, enjoys the technical aspect of the light show, the real reason he goes to all the trouble during the busy holiday season is for the children. "I really enjoy seeing the kids' faces when they see the show," explained the father of two daughters, Morgan and Ally.
During the evenings, neighbors and others drive by to see the show. On the weekends, it's commonplace to see cars line up in front of the McLeans' home to enjoy the mini light spectacular. Spectators enjoy the music by rolling down their windows or from within the car by tuning their radio channel to 105.9 FM.
"(The light show is) like any other hobby. Once you get into it, it's just hard to stop at a certain point," he said. He has been animating the lights for four years. "Each year the show gets a little bit bigger."
Unlike a static show, McLean's light show is constantly flashing. Because the lights are on for only a split second, McLean said the show has little impact on his electrical bill.
The system for the lights is broken down into channels similar to an extension cord. The first year, he set up 16 channels, the second year 32, the third year 64 and this year he has 160 channels with 43,000 lights in his yard.
"You just want to keep going and get (the show) bigger and bigger," he said.
McLean usually begins decorating the yard around Thanksgiving, but he prepares for the show all year long. "It's a year-round hobby with regards to executing and planning," he said.
"We all have that memory of that house (decorated to the max) when you were growing up. I want to be that guy," Mike said. "(The neighbors) love it."
Visit the McLeans' light show at 395 Millbrook Trace, near Terrell Mill Park (close to the intersection of Terrell Mill and Lower Roswell Roads). Get a sneak video preview by visiting www.mdjonline.com.
The light show is free but a donation to St. Jude's Children's Hospital and Cancer Research in a drop box located in the front yard is appreciated.