Holiday light displays are an opportunity for many people to light up their homes and yards to express the joy of the season, but for Cutler Bay resident Hoffman Cruz it also is an expression of love for his late father.
Cruz calls the display his “Winter Wonderland,” and decorating the family home has been part of his life for the past 10 years, since he was in elementary school. Then three years ago, on Aug. 6, 2010, his father was brutally murdered.
“When it came to decorating for Christmas around December, it really touched my feelings how my father couldn’t help me decorate and
I roughly did everything — my own decorating,” Cruz said. “However my mother and my friends helped me at some point. After the next year, that’s when I realized that this was my passion and many people noticed that each year I have been getting better at decorating and started doing everything on my own.”
Cruz is now 6 feet, 3 inches tall, 19 years old, and will be turning 20 soon. A 2013 graduate of John A. Ferguson Senior High he now is attending Miami Dade College studying for electrical engineering, and he plans to further continue his education.
“This year, since it’s my 10th year anniversary, I wanted to put more decorations and this year by far is the best year I’ve made,” Cruz said. “I switched all my lights to LED and replaced most standard lights, and have been adding more decoration.”
It usually takes Cruz a month to finish his Christmas display. He starts around the first day of November and is done around the first week of December. He estimates that there about 13,198 lights in the decorations at his house.
“And yes, I did everything by myself,” Cruz said. “From building my nativity scene to getting a ladder and putting lights on my palm trees to decorating my yard. I definitely love doing this every year.”
Cruz, known to his friends as “Hoffy,” has lived in Cutler Bay for 17 years — most of his life — and is pleased that people in the neighborhood enjoy seeing his annual “Winter Wonderland” display at 9551 Martinique Dr.
“Each year I dedicate it to my dad because I’m grateful to him for teaching me how to be creative and show people that whatever you put effort on, the things you desire to do, you are the one that can make it happen and reach your goals,” Cruz said.