FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — You may not be able to catch Santa Claus where you usually do before Christmas, but you can find him spreading cheer over on Pelham Drive with Mrs. Claus.
Matthew and Jody Ellenwood began decorating their house for Christmas when they first moved there around 30 years ago. The display, located at 721 Pelham Drive, features lights, tunnels, inflatables, and even structures. It has gotten bigger each year with this year’s set up showcasing upwards of 30,000 lights — some of which are timed to change with the music playing on the 97.1 FM radio station.
The Ellenwood’s also invite families to walk around the display.
“People can come here, they can walk through it, they can see it, they can take pictures,” said Matthew. “We are out here Friday and Saturday nights they can come and talk to us, take a picture from 6 to 8”
Kids can even drop off their letters to Santa at the Post Office mailbox. Every child who leaves a letter will get one back as long as there is a return address.
The pair sits in their driveway wearing masks and lets parents decide if they want their children to approach. They said it was important that they continue this tradition despite the COVID-19 pandemic because children have already lost so much this year.
“I feel like the kids, with the virtual learning in schools they can’t even be around their friends, ” said Matthew. “So many things have changed. I’m sure in their head, they’re kind of confused about what’s going on, and this kind of gives them just a little bit of normalcy to the season, as weird as it is. This is just our small part to do.”
They also hope to spread Christmas cheer beyond their property. Beginning Saturday, December 5 they will have a collection box out for people to donate supplies to Shephard’s House, a non-profit that helps men struggling with addiction.
They are looking for donations of:
- Disinfectant wipes or sprays
- Liquid HE laundry soap
- Bottled water
- Bottled sports drinks
- Fast food giftcards
- Walmart or Meijer gift cards
The Ellenwoods will be collecting donations until Saturday, December 19. They will be out dressed as Santa and Mrs. Claus every Friday and Saturday from 6-8pm through the end of the month.
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