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Home holiday lights display helps spread Christmas cheer to families in need

One Columbus family is using their annual lights display to collect donations for local organization N.I.C.C. Foundation.
Published: Dec. 19, 2020 at 11:56 PM CST
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COLUMBUS, Wis. (WMTV) - One Columbus family is pulling out all the stops with their Christmas decorations. This has become an annual tradition for them, but this year, there’s a special mission behind their display.

When it comes to the holidays, Joe and Chris Bourassa are no Grinches. Every year, their house is the brightest on the block, and their lights display keeps growing.

“I think everyone needs to have a weird hobby,” Joe said, laughing.

Joe and Chris said they keep adding to their display to keep people coming back every year.

“To see, ‘What did the Bourassas do to the house this year?’” Joe explained.

In November, Joe spends hours every night setting up the lights and synchronizing them to Christmas carols. On Thanksgiving, the couple hits the on switch.

“We could hear kids in the house squealing from the cars outside and that’s what it’s for,” Joe described.

In 2020, for the first time, the Bourassas are accepting donations, giving the funds to local organization N.I.C.C. Foundation.

“With everything going on with COVID, a lot of families needed help this year,” Chris explained.

Julie Hornbacher started the N.I.C.C. Foundation almost 30 years ago. She said she was shocked when she heard about the Bourassas’ fundraiser.

“I had no idea they were going to do anything like that,” she said.

Through the N.I.C.C. Foundation, Hornbacher helps bring the Christmas spirit to hundreds of people in need in the Columbus and Fall River area, often serving over 60 families.

“They get warm winter clothing, they get gifts, they get food cards,” Hornbacher explained.

Community members and Toys for Tots help donate clothes and gifts. Hornbacher buys some of the items herself.

“This is the whole community that does this,” she explained.

For Hornbacher and the Bourassas, it is especially important this year to make everyone’s holidays a little brighter.

“At Christmas time, I think it’s really important that everybody just help everybody out,” Hornbacher said.

Chris and Joe remembered one woman who came to see the lights. Chris said, “We had some lady come with her 96-year-old mom.” Joe added, “She said she was happy to live this long to see something this beautiful.”

Chris and Joe are accepting donations through Christmas. Their house is in the 100 block of North Birdsey Street.

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