Driving along Route 25A, you might have seen a boxy vehicle decked out in lights. Candy canes stick out from its top alongside green garland.
The Long Island Holiday Jeep has been seen throughout Port Jefferson, near Stony Brook University, and even out into Huntington. Every holiday season, Michael Johnston joins dozens of other people on the road, decorating their vehicles as part of a group called The Christmas Convoy.
The 19-year-old Setauket resident said he began decorating cars before he was even able to drive, at age 16 with his father.
“This year I went all out because it was such a depressing year,” he said.
Usually his Jeep Renegade has about 2,000 lights on it, he said. This year he added 3,000 more.
“It’s just fun to do,” he said. “It’s fun to get reactions from people and everyone loves it … other than some cops.”
Unlike some his Convoy-counterparts, Johnston decorates for most holidays. He’s been at the Huntington St. Patrick’s Day Parade adorning green, dazzled with hearts for Valentine’s Day and with Easter Bunny ears placed at his car’s top in the spring. He’s decorated for Thanksgiving and Halloween, but nothing compares to Christmas.
Johnston is a delivery driver for DoorDash, so he’s always out and about.
“Everyone has a way different reaction,” he said. “Some people scream, they wave, and they ask me questions about it.”
He said he hopes that the bright lights on the road spread some holiday cheer during a rather bleak time.
For now, he and his holiday Jeep can be spotted all across the North Shore, and eventually, the young man hopes, it might be another vehicle.
“I actually want to get a new car,” he said. “A Cadillac Escalade.”