Eclectic Christmas display shines attention on premature birth
NEWBERRY, SC (WIS) - The Fitzgerald's love the holidays and their Christmas display includes a little bit of everything, including an important message.
While passing by their Newberry home, you will catch a glimpse of Rudolph, Santa, Mickey Mouse and a full nativity scene that's
all lit up.
"We're a little brighter and tackier than most,” Karen Fitzgerald said.
Karen says she has always gone with the mindset, 'the brighter the better,' and she never shies away from being colorful.
"That's why you see dinosaurs, giraffes, abominable snow men, blow molds," Karen said. "I love the old school Christmas,”
Karen and her husband Brian are spending just their second Christmas in Newberry.
She says in the beginning she didn't know if their eclectic display would go over well with their neighbors.
"Newberry has a lot of historical homes and people decorate beautifully with garland, lights, and ribbons," Karen said. "When we first started setting up a year ago i think they were wondering what on earth are these people
But Karen and her husband Brian say their neighbors have embraced it.
Brian who is head of the Newberry Academy says his students have mentioned the “house with all the Christmas decorations” not knowing it's where he lives with his family.
After gaining a lot of attention, the couple decided to add more.
A 9 ½ foot fall inflatable duck, which their 2-year-old son Vaden picked out himself, has special meaning.
The Fitzgerald's thought they would use it as a way to bring awareness to something important to them.
"A lot of people in the neighborhood know about our story, that Vaden was born premature and we are very involved in the March of Dimes,” Karen said.
And their new display reiterates that, with five white stars and one purple, representing the 1 in 6 babies in South Carolina born prematurely.
“I went in for a routine doctor's appointment, they sent me to the women's center. I went in at 3:30 and at 4:30 he was born. They told me I had HELLP syndrome, it's something you see in what to expect when you're expecting and flip over because you think that will never happen to me,” Karen said.
There is also a banner stating this statistic, along with a call to action to visit the Facebook page they created where people can make a donations to the March of Dimes and get more information about what the organization does to help mothers all over.
Visit The Fitzgerald's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/vadensducky
"We had a couple knock on our door at 9 o'clock at night and say that they had a son who was born premature and how much the display meant to them, that we were trying to bring awareness to the March of Dimes," Karen said. "They were emotional telling me the story and I got emotional hearing the story because that is why we are doing what we are doing,"
So far, the Fitzgeralds say they have only blown one fuse this season.
They both agreed that their displays will continue to change every year.
"We think we have a festive display that people will really enjoy and just maybe take away a little something more," Brian said. "The holidays are all about giving back and paying it forward, so that's what we are trying to do."
The Fitzgerald family served as Newberry's 2014 Ambassador Family for the March of Dimes.
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