A South Carolina man was hit with a sizable fine for his practice of bedecking his car with Christmas lights as one would a tree. The yuletide mascot's community decided to pitch in to help him pay for the citation.
In December, Brandon Wooden of Beaufort bedazzled his vehicle with colorful holiday lights for the fifth year in a row. Wooden accomplishes the elaborate decoration with packing tape and a converter.
"I just like to see people's reactions, spread a little love, joy -- I call it 'spread the glow,'" Wooden told WJCL.
For half a decade, the Beaufort resident would wrap his car with glowing lights during the holiday season and drive around. The attention had made him a local celebrity.
"People usually follow me for a few miles, videotape me, Snapchat, stop me and tell me to pull over on the side of the road to take a picture," Wooden explained. "I do it. ... It's awesome!"
While local residents saw Wooden's jolly ride as endearing and festive, Beaufort Police saw the glowing car as a safety hazard. Wooden was cited after a handful of run-ins with law enforcement.
"The first time they only pulled me over because they wanted to take pictures of the car," Wooden recounted. "The second time it was a warning, and the third time was for improper lighting of a vehicle."
Wooden was ordered to pay $232 for his moving light show. Beaufort Police maintain that the car's stylization is unsafe and illegal.
Wooden's neighbors were sympathetic and established a GoFundMe page to crowd fund the money to pay his citation. With his financial burden lifted, he still has not removed the lights from his car.
"I love doing it for the people," Wooden said. "For them ... not for me ... for them. And my son, of course, he loves it."
Christmas lights can provide a cheerful ambience during the holidays but can also pose a hazard. On Dec. 20, a cord of lights that had been punctured by staples sparked a house fire in Kalamazoo, Michigan, according to MLive.
Firefighters were able to extinguish the flames and no one was hurt.
On Dec. 21, the city of North Liberty ordered resident Josh Covert to take down his Christmas decorations or face a $750 fine. Covert's decorations were so expansive across his lawn that city officials feared they could block first responders in the event of an emergency, KCRG reports.