WESTBORO (CBS) – It takes Don Landroche a solid couple of weeks to pull off the Christmas lights display in the yard of his Westboro home. He loves the work, though, since it provides so much enjoyment for kids – his and others as well.
“I’m actually just a big kid too,” he explains. “I enjoy it.”
The family is used to the lights attracting attention. They don’t even mind if people walk through their yard to get close to the decorations – as long as they are careful not to trip on the many extension cords.
This Tuesday, though, there was a surprise in the family’s mailbox.
WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong reports.
It was a nasty, handwritten note from someone – maybe a neighbor – chastising the family for showing off their big house and expensive ornaments.
The anonymous author wrote that the family is rubbing people’s noses in the fact that they can afford the electric bill, even as so many other people are out of work.
The letter ordered the family to take down a “significant” number of decorations and it even offered up a threat. It continued by saying, “Please do not force us to remove them for you.”
“They’re complaining about the hard times and people are out there suffering and I totally understand that,” said Landroche. “Things aren’t always beautiful for us, either. My wife works two jobs and I work two jobs.”
Landroche was most disturbed by the threat of someone coming on his property to take his decorations down. He and his wife have two teenage daughters, and he doesn’t like the thought of them being scared to be in their own home.
Daughter Megan cannot believe her dad’s holiday passion has generated this kind of response.
“It brings so much cheer to our family and I would think that it would bring so much cheer to everyone else,” she said. “But apparently not.”
As WBZ-TV spent time talking to the family, it was clear that plenty of people like the lights. One woman from Rochester, N.Y. came by on the advice of her local relatives. She loved it.
“I think it’s the epitome of the celebration of a wonderful holiday,” said Laurie Nixon-Reinke.
As for the controversy, she says she can try to understand where the disgruntled neighbor is coming from.
“This is just one family who wants to celebrate the season,” she said. “And, yes, we do feel for the people who are homeless and don’t have the means to celebrate this way. So I see both sides.”
But Jeff Merloni, visiting the display with his three-year-old son, says he can’t understand why someone would react this way.
“I think it shows a big heart for all the children and young people in the neighborhood – and the young at heart who still have the Christmas spirit,” the Northborough resident said.
And while the family’s not taking down a single bulb on the orders of some mystery Grinch, they did tell police about the threatening comments.
“We’re definitely worried about that,” said Westboro Police Sargent Jonathan Kalagher. “We don’t want someone vandalizing their property, especially because it’s such a positive thing.”