PEI

Summerside couple brightens seniors' holidays with Christmas light display

A Summerside couple is brightening up the darker-than-usual holiday season for the seniors next door by means of a Christmas light display that's been supplemented by generous donors.

'We watch out the window and to see what kind of lights they put up'

A Summerside couple took to social media recently in the hope of finding a rooftop Santa for their Christmas display. And thereby hangs a tale... (Travis Kingdon/CBC News)

Nick Cameron and Richard Rogers typically hang Christmas lights on their home in Summerside. But this year there's much more going on.

Toy soldiers march outside, a Santa stands proudly on the roof and a "Merry Christmas" sign shines brilliantly in red. 

"I feel like everyone in long-term care has a really horrible year," said Cameron. "I mean, not that anyone had a great year, but they had a really bad year.

"I just thought it would be something nice to do. "

Across the street is Wedgewood Manor, a long-term care facility. And a few weeks back, the display started to attract some eyeballs.

"We were sitting here in the evening, the residents and I, and they noticed the light and they were amazed by all the lights," said Candy Beaton, the home's recreation manager.

'Every week they add more and more,' says Candy Beaton at the neighbouring Wedgewood Manor. 'It's things to look forward to every evening.' (Travis Kingdon/CBC News)

Beaton said she promptly sent a message to Cameron and Rogers, letting them know the lights were certainly being appreciated.

There was one small request, though.

"One resident spoke up and said it needs a Santa on the roof," she said. 

"And lo and behold! Santa went on the roof."

'We watch out the window'

Cameron had taken to Facebook after getting Beaton's request, telling folks he was looking for a rooftop Santa.

"I just thought maybe we would get a couple of people that wanted to help out," he said. 

"People just kept dropping [decorations] off. It became a little overwhelming, but it's a great form of overwhelming."

Nick Cameron and Richard Rogers say they are happy they got to make the holidays a little more special for the seniors across the street. (Travis Kingdon/CBC News)

Thanks to donations from people across the Island, the display continued to grow. Over at Wedgewood Manor, residents began to gather to see what was new.

"Every night when it gets dark we watch out the window and to see what kind of lights they put up," said Beaton.

"There was actually one night where they were late… so we were all wondering. But within 10 minutes we seen the car pull in and the lights went on."

Bigger next year

After a holiday season filled with decorating, both Cameron and Rogers said they are now proclaiming the display to be complete. 

But they said they both hope to go even bigger next year.

"I think the Christmas spirit is always geared towards children, and we kind of forget about seniors sometimes," said Rogers. 

"Maybe this is a story that will make other people brighten up their spirits and light up their house."

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Travis Kingdon

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