The Christmas car is back on Bluffton area roads — and it’s brighter than ever

If you are driving around after dark in Beaufort County, keep your eyes open for Brandon Wooden’s Ford Taurus.

It will be hard to miss because it’s wrapped in thousands of holiday lights.

Despite getting a ticket last year and having to repair several strands of lights that were cut by a vandal, Wooden has decorated his car for the sixth Christmas in a row.

This year, he’s added more lights to cover the doors and the body of the car equally, and the colors of the lights are no longer mismatched, he said.

The 24-year-old train conductor who grew up in Bluffton but now lives in Beaufort said he considered changing out the blue light bulbs for different colors; that’s what got him in trouble with police last year.

Ultimately, he decided to leave them on the car.

“I talked to a few cops, and they told me I should be OK because they know me now,” Wooden said.

Wooden, whose car was featured in a CNN report, said he decided not to turn his lights on in the Beaufort and Port Royal area, since that’s where he got the ticket.

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Brandon Wooden Submitted

Instead, he said, he’ll cruise around on U.S. 278 and in other areas on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton.

Last year, fans of the Christmas car donated to a GoFundMe to cover the cost of Wooden’s traffic ticket. He was cited for having improper colors of lights on his vehicle.

The fine started out as $232.50, The Island Packet previously reported.

Wooden said on Tuesday that the money raised paid for the fine, which later was reduced, but the real expense of the car is coming up with gas money for his nightly drives.

“I try to go every night possible,” he said. “I try to go by people’s houses. It’s a lot, but it’s worth it.”

He said he’s motivated to continue by his nearly 3-year-old son and by seeing the smiles on other people’s faces — especially children — when they see the car.

Fans who would like to see the Christmas car can watch for Wooden’s posts on the Bluffton/Hilton Head Ask and Answer Facebook group to find out where he will be heading each night. There’s no set schedule.

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Last week, he said, he decided to make a stop at a Bluffton home decorated with Christmas lights choreographed to music.

“There were like 70 people outside,” he said. “They started freaking out, smiling, taking pictures of the car. ... I touched a lot of people’s hearts.”