By Jim Armstrong, WBZ-TV

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.”

Comments (11)
  1. Deborah Sack says:

    What is wrong with people? Can’t anyone have Christmas decorations up anymore with being harrased? Relax and enjoy the lights!!!!

  2. Pamela ter Gast says:

    What would Christmas be without the Grinch?

  3. carolyn king says:

    People can be such JERKS! What this fantastic family is doing is helping those of us WITHOUT enough money to go to Christmas light display shows which charge fees, to still have a place to go and see a fantastic display. My parents were just saying how sad it was they couldn’t find a lit up neighborhood like they used to have on one street in Carlisle Pennsylvania when they took my grandmother out to see the lights the other night.
    YOUE PLACE IS BEAUTIFUL Don Landroche!! Thank you for trying to make Christmas a brighter time for your family and the rest of the neighborhood. Sorry for the jerks out there like this letter writer is.

  4. Janine Brown says:

    Thank you Don and family for sharing such a Spectacular Christmas Display for all to feast their eyes on. Christmas is for giving, not taking away.

    Glad it is your Electric Bill and not mine…He He !!!

    Merry Christmas

  5. surge says:

    Why not fingerprint the neighbors’ with the ones on the letter and install cameras around the house. T?here’s the handwriting too…
    I, personally, would not be for wasting electricity on any excuse, unless it is generated by wind or solar energy. (no, it’s not my handwriting and haven’t seen his house except in the picture in this article :))

  6. Pamela ter Gast says:

    Also typical it was anonymous……

  7. Subieb says:

    What goes around comes around. Whoever wrote that letter will get their share of COAL this Christmas!!

  8. TT says:

    Must have been one of the 99% (occupiers) that don’t like income inequality

  9. NikW says:

    I think that this is a beautiful house and the better do it bigger next year just so the “anonyomous” chicken is even more mad.

    That chicken should be ashamed of themselves.

  10. SClarke says:

    Unless the note was sent through the mail, the postmaster general should be notified. Here is the penalty for illegal use of a mail box:
    Article 8.3.1: Penalty: Whoever knowingly and willingly deposits any mailable materials such as statements of accounts, circulars, sale bills, or other like materials on which no postage is paid, in any letterbox established, approved, or accepted by the Postal Service for the delivery of mail matter on any route, with intent to avoid payment or lawful postage thereon, shall for each such offense, be fined not more than $5,000.00 per individual or $10,000.00 per organization.

  11. Tom Hennessy says:

    One might wonder whether the impetus of this attack is based in religion as opposed to ‘cost of electricity’. Those opposed to Christmas displays tend to display a level of violence which only comes with a lack of compassion for your fellow man. It has been shown atheists tend to give someone a raw deal as opposed to a person with religion.
    “Lacking a “moralizing god” — made the most unfair offers to strangers”
    “Farming’s rise cultivated fair deals”

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