Ashe County man sends message using Christmas lights

Ashe County man sends message using Christmas lights

JEFFERSON, N.C. — If you drive through Jefferson late at night you won’t see Santa on the side of the road. Instead, you will see the Grinch.

“Just like making people happy. I like getting people into the Christmas spirit,” Robert DePalma said. “I have been waving at people, watching them and I can actually see their reaction in their cars. They are smiling and waving. I actually had a lot of people honking at me earlier.” 


What You Need To Know

Robert DePalma’s sister died of COVID-19

He has written 1-4-3 in lights on his roof to send his sister a message — to the siblings, the numbers mean “I love you”

DePalma is also giving out lights to those who cannot afford them to help brighten the town


DePalma has been standing outside his restaurant, Bobby D’s, for days. He loves to cook. The business is currently curbside only, but he didn’t want that to make guests’ experience any less exciting.

Christmas spirit can be seen everywhere. A cross now sits outside the restaurant with his sister’s name, Crystal. 

“She just got sick one day in January and a week later she was gone,” DePalma said. 

Crystal was a high school teacher who died from COVID-19.

“We would message each other every single day before we went to bed. We were very close,” DePalma said. “The last thing I said to her was I loved her, and I went like this up against the window and she did it back to me so I know that she loved me.”

DePalma found his own way to send his sister a message. He put Christmas lights all over the yard. On the roof he used lights to trace 1-4-3. It’s the way he and his sister say I love you.

“I just hope she’s proud,” DePalma said.

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