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A simple act of Christmas kindness which gives focus to festive family walks and offers a super way to build strong community connections.

Part of our ‘Communities Spreading Cheer’ series

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Part of our ‘Communities Spreading Cheer’ series

We absolutely love this idea from Emma and her family in Greater Manchester. A simple act of Christmas kindness which gives focus to festive family walks and offers a super way to build strong community connections.

House Covered In Christmas Lights

Over the past eight years, Emma Connell from Heywood and her husband and two daughters have evolved a tradition of seeking out their favourite homemade outside Christmas displays and writing to the households to thank them for all their efforts.

And, in a year when we are so limited in what we can do and community is so important, this is a wonderful new tradition to introduce in your family. Read on to find out more.

Tell Us About Your Project

Want to share a Christmas cheer project underway in your local area?  It’s very much a case of ‘The More The Merrier’.  We love sharing good news heartwarming stories, no matter the scope or size!

in search of Christmas lights

How It All Began

Following a period of time living in Paderborn, Germany with the army, Emma and her family moved back to the UK in 2012.

They returned with a passion for Christmas decorations and were determined to seek out the best homemade displays around! ‘They go all out for the holidays [in Germany],’ explains Emma, ‘So, when we came home, we decided to go and search the local area to find some fabulous displays.’

House & Front Garden Covered in Christmas Lights

The family soon started to choose their favourite homes and began voting between themselves for an overall winning design.

But then Emma’s elder daughter took things to a wonderful new level. ‘She said it’d be cool if we told them we loved it. So, the following year we armed ourselves with a card each and went out.’

It’s now become an annual tradition for the family to write notes to the houses they each choose, letting them know how much their efforts are appreciated. The cards are then delivered with a candy cane the week before Christmas.

Christmas Card, Gingerbread Man & Candy Cane

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what makes a good display?

Voting For Favourites

So, what do Emma and her family look for in a display? ‘We love to see it all, particularly lights. Lights and music together are great too! We look for effort as well – ones that have clearly taken weeks to complete.’

Emma has already chosen her winner for this year (photographed below). A house that have really gone all out with a spectacular display. And they are raising money for a local hospice too. A fabulous act of Christmas kindness combo!

Candy cane and card due to be delivered in the next few days!

2020 Winning House

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Let’s sprinkle Christmas cheer far and wide!

bringing back German traditions

Any Other Ideas To Share?

With such a fabulous idea for spreading Christmas cheer, we asked if the family have any other traditions they would like to share.

St Nicholas Boots

‘When the girls were younger, we used to follow the German Christmas tradition of St Nicholas. On the night of December 5th, children clean and polish their boots and leave them outside the door before going to sleep. Next morning, they find their shoes filled with nuts, candy, and small gifts from St Nicholas. We used to use this as a way of sending our Christmas Lists too!’

Thanks so much to Emma and her family for sharing this wonderful idea.

Emma & Her Family

We’d love to hear if you decide to follow the Connell family’s lead and thank your nearby homes for their festive efforts. Do you have other lovely traditions with your family? Let us know in the comments below. Read about other wonderful Acts of Christmas Kindness here.

Do you know our golden rule for fabulous Front Door Christmas Décor? Click here to find out more.

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Share Some Christmas Cheer!

Help us spread the word about this heartwarming project.  And be sure to tag #jollyfestive when you do!

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @jollyfestive for more inspiring stories of giving back this Christmas and beyond.

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