NORWALK, Conn. – This Thanksgiving marked the 25th year that Rick and Joan Setti lit up the grand Christmas display at their Norwalk home. And despite an annual electric bills in the thousands, the two rarely ask for help.
So friend Dawn Monteiro decided to organize a collection drive to surprise Rick Setti by adding to the Christmas Village in her own way, “regardless of whether he wants help.”
“They said they do it for the kids, and I truly believe that the joy on the kids’ faces is why they continue their display year after year,” Monteiro says on her webpage dedicated to collecting donations.
Each year the Settis transform their Midwood Road home into a “Christmas Village,” a massive display of lights, plywood characters and other decorations that attract families from around the Norwalk area. This year, they will make use of more than 150,000 lights in the decorations, and expect 3,000 to 5,000 visitors between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
For the past 25 years, the Settis have made their display bigger and brighter by adding new features. This year, for example, they added memorials to the 26 victims of the tragedy at Sandy Hook School last December.
The Christmas Village culminates each year with a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus on Christmas Eve, handing out candy canes to kids who stop by to see the lights. Monteiro’s collection will help make Santa Setti’s gifts even better this year. She plans to use the donations to buy teddy bears for Setti to hand out to visitors.
“This way every child can have a memento of celebrating 25 years with Santa in Norwalk,” Monteiro said via email.
The donation drive includes incentives for those who wish to donate. The awards range from a “Thank You” on Facebook or via email to an arranged visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus at a private party next holiday season.
To donate to Monteiro’s drive, visit her page on Rockethub or the Christmas Village Facebook page. The Setti’s Christmas lights display is open to the public each day until Christmas at 6 Midwood Road.