NJ family uses Christmas lights display to give back to those in need

What started out as an ordinary light display to spread holiday cheer has grown into a holiday extravaganza drawing visitors from around the county who come to marvel at the lights and chip in for a good cause.

Take a leisurely 3 mph drive down Lawlor Lane in Pittsgrove, New Jersey and don't forget to turn your radio dial to 88.1 FM to get in the socially-distant holiday spirit. Like most holiday traditions, Pete and Missy Lawlor's amazing Christmas display has tender beginnings. 

The Lawlors began decorating their home in Fishtown for their daughter, Melissa, who loved Christmastime as a child. Over the years, the family has been able to grow its display.

"We had like inflatables on the roof and things like that. Then we moved to Merchantville and we had a larger yard so more lights," Missy said. "But when they moved here to Pittsgrove they couldn't resist going brighter and literally bigger."

The Lawlors have been decorating their home with festive lights since their children were young.

The Lawlors display drew light-loving watchers who comically offered to pay for their electric bill to keep the display lit.

"In the beginning, people were like we want to help you with your electric bill and I’m like this isn't why we do that and I said if people are willing to give let's help someone else out," the Lawlors said.

The tradition grew again, this time welcoming passers-by to drop off a donation for a local food bank, Toys for Tots. They also accept monetary donations.

Missy says you can find Lawlor Lane by entering it on Google Maps, but if you live close enough you may be able to see the ambient light shone from the magnificent display.


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