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Her love of Christmas shines in the darkness

What started as a birthday present for her twin daughters nine years ago has turned into a Christmas gift for the entire community.

Marlene Cupit loves the Christmas season and all that twinkles and shines. To celebrate Sophie and Lilly’s second birthday — the twins were born on Christmas Eve — Cupit put up a few lighted decorations in front of their home on Natchez Drive.

“I guess people could see the lights from the road, because a few people called to see if they could drive through. People really loved what little I had done from right in front of the house,” she said.

The next year she decided to decorate the entire circular driveway, which measures about a third of a mile. Each year, the display has grown and so have lines of cars that drive through nightly during the holidays.

“I know, it’s kind of something if you don’t know about it and just happen upon, you’re like, ‘Where did that come from?’” she said.

Cupit is regularly complimented for her window displays at her downtown office of Hurst Review as well as the company’s float in the Brookhaven Christmas parade.

“We try to do a Christmas float every other year. Sometimes I am able to use some of the decorations from the float here, too,” she said.

At home, she takes her creativity to the pine woods on either side of her driveway with scene after scene of Christmas wonder and magic.

The decorations include dozens of inflatables, dozens of wooden yard art scenes and thousands of twinkling lights.

And there’s not one, but two replicas of Cinderella’s famous coach.

She found the first several years ago at a market in Flowood.

“I just saw a Cinderella carriage and just had to have it,” she said.

She added another to the collection this year after a visit to Home Goods in Flowood.

With the help of friends and family, she usually gets the displays in place by Thanksgiving so she can flip the switch the next night to light up her property.

It takes about 10 minutes to cruise through her front yard, taking in the Christmas scenes on each side of the paved driveway.

The lights are on from 5:30 to 9:45 p.m. every night through New Year’s. Cupit said she’ll probably keep them up a few days after Jan. 1 to accommodate those people who have called her to request she leave the lights on into the new year so they can bring visiting family through.

It will take her about a month to put it all away for another year. The fragile pieces go into her seasonal decorating room inside the house, while the other displays have a home inside a large storage building on the property.

“We try to pack it up all repaired and clean up every year so it will be easy when we get it out the next year,” she said.

Cupit said she is encouraged to keep adding to the displays each year because of the children in the area who don’t get to travel to see Christmas decorations.

“I’ve always been told that every child deserves to have a magical childhood,” she said. “What I’m trying to do with this now that my girls are older is to make sure that I’m giving back to the children in our area because I want them to have wonderful memories like I did when I was growing up, even if it’s just for a short drive through our driveway. Maybe that will make a memory that they can keep with them for a long, long time. All of them deserve joy at Christmas time and year round but especially now. This was one thing I could do to help with that.”