Lowell resident Ty Sheppard is Ty the Christmas Light Guy who is looking to decorate homes, businesses, and organizations with lights this holiday season. Better yet, he’s doing it free of charge as a way to give back to the community.
Sheppard and his family moved to Lowell in 1997. In 2014 he moved to New York for college. He moved back here then back to New York twice before settling in Lowell in 2019. Sheppard was born profoundly deaf. He explains this as being similar to watching TV and hitting the mute button. He has two cochlear implants, which are devices that electrically stimulate the cochlear nerve needed for hearing. Sheppard again goes back to the watching TV scenario and says with the devices he has the ability to mute, turn the volume up and down, and change programs.
Sheppard is able to turn off the sounds of the outside world when he’d like and is proud to live in the deaf world as well as the hearing world. “I am forever grateful to be in two worlds. It’s who I am and I’m very happy being deaf,” he says.
He likes to hear voices and read lips when communicating with others and states his first language is English and his second is American Sign Language (ASL). He is a huge proponent of the deaf community and spreading awareness. He spoke at a recent Lowell Area Schools Board of Education Meeting suggesting ASL be offered as a class for foreign language credit.
Love of Lights from an Early Age
Sheppard shared a memory from childhood where he put lights in the pantry and bathroom when he was a little boy. He enjoyed putting lights up inside and outside as well. This love of lights has lasted into adulthood. This is his third year putting Christmas lights up for others. He has started off small and has several regular customers.
This year he’s offering something new. His light decorating services will be free of charge. Even when he charges, he likes that his services cost less than using a bigger company. He likens himself to someone using a neighbor to mow your lawn. He indicates this year, those who have wanted to pay him have done so by giving him gift cards, a bottle of tequila, or gift baskets. He’s grateful for these gestures as he helps a community he loves become festive.
Looking for Businesses, Homes, and More
Sheppard is looking for homes and businesses to decorate this year. He’s even interested in working in school classrooms and with a non-profit in need of decorating. He says, “Ty The Christmas Light Guy is forever grateful, so I wanted to donate and give them lights. If they wanted to use them for their classroom, students can have some Christmas cheers while learning.”
When decorating there’s a mix of him supplying the lights used and the customer supplying them. He has even had a customer who gave him money to buy the lights he used to decorate. He will even come and take down the lights he has put up after the holiday season if requested.
If anyone has lights they’d like to donate, Sheppard will gladly take working and non-working lights. He’s able to fix strands that no longer work and use them for people who can’t afford to purchase their own lights.
Last year Sheppard had 10 customers. This year he already has 23 appointments scheduled and has completed nine locations. He’s able and willing to decorate up until a couple of days before Christmas if there’s a need. He’s even available for anyone who is interested in having lights up year-round or in the summer on a deck or porch.
Depending on the size of the house, the number of lights, and whether any maintenance on light strands is needed, it typically takes between 30 minutes and three and a half hours to decorate a location. Sheppard will work with the customer on ideas for the final product. Usually, customers will indicate where lights are wanted and Sheppard will come up with colors and styles. Some customers give him free rein to use his creativity and surprise them with a final look.
Sheppard is eager to give back this year by offering his services free of charge. He enjoys working with his customers on a task that many do not like to do themselves, but also brings joy to others doing something he loves. Each year Sheppard has grown his number of customers and perfected his work. He has aspirations for new things next year as well.
It’s easy to note the enthusiasm and excitement from Sheppard as he shares information about his love of lights, love of decorating, and wanting to do something for the community where he lives. He is proud of his work and has happy customers who are thankful for beautifully decorated homes and businesses.
Sheppard shares his work on his Facebook page. This is also where those interested in using Ty the Christmas Light Guy for any outdoor lighting needs can send a message. Additionally, anyone wanting to donate lights can send a message through his Facebook page as well.
Photos courtesy of Ty Sheppard and used with permission.