(Setauket, NY)- Michael Johnson has always loved decorating for the holidays. His mother Kris, says that Michael began decorating their home, approximately seven years ago. Seasonally, their Setauket house has over 30,000 lights and something they call a “20 foot mega tree”. In 2015, the family got a Jeep Renegade, which came equipped with an actual plug in the back and Michael saw this as an opportunity. He convinced his father, Kevin, to allow him to put some holiday lights on the Jeep and Kevin, being the good sport that he is, agreed. At the time, Michael was only 14 years old and Kevin was driving the Jeep from Setauket to a job in Nassau County. Kevin, with the Jeep all lit up, would commute early in the morning before the sun came up on the Long Island Expressway westbound from exit 62 to exit 39. Kevin says that he got pulled over a few times by Highway Patrol but nothing too serious came of it.
Each year at the holidays, Kevin and Michael would add more and more lights to the Jeep, it became a father and son tradition. Over the years, the family began adding lights and decorations to the Jeep for more than just the Christmas holiday season. On Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter and Halloween the Jeep was adorned with new decorations and new lights.
In 2018, when Michael graduated Ward Melville High School, the Jeep became his. If you live on the North Shore in Suffolk, you may have seen the Jeep on the road, it is pretty hard to miss! This time of year, Michael’s Jeep, that he calls “The Holiday Jeep”, which you can find on Instagram, has 5,000 multi-colored lights and the Queen of England riding in the back. When asked about the Queen being part of the Jeep, Michael said, “my sister, Beth found the decal of the Queen at Walmart and we thought it was funny”.
Michael, who has been driving the Jeep for his job with Door Dash, says that this year in particular, the reaction he’s getting from people makes all the work, worthwhile, “some people come up and talk to me about it and they’ll say they’ve been battling depression and this was the first thing that made them happy and smile”.
Michael found a local community of people who, like him, decorate their vehicles to spread holiday cheer called, The Christmas Convoy. The Christmas Convoy on their Facebook page says, “What started as a group of friends simply decorating our trucks with a few Christmas lights, spiraled into a mobile light show”. Earlier this week the Christmas Convoy joined the Selden Fire Department’s annual Holiday parade. And this weekend, you can catch their mobile light show all over Long Island. Tonight the crew will be at the King Ave light show in Selden at 6pm. Saturday, the Convoy will head to the light show at Smith’s Point at 6:30pm and on Sunday you can catch them riding for fun around Port Jefferson starting around 6:30pm.
Photo: Michael Johnson