So we set out to plan our event and then had a chance meeting with two friends, Suzanne and JJ DeVito, who are weaved into our lives in very different ways. Upon hearing echoes of our idea they were anxious to learn more. They expressed how they loved Christmas and knew, upon learning of Christmas Land, they wanted to be a part of it.

Suzanne said, “We are so excited for people who will take time out of their crazy, busy lives and spend some time with us at ChristmasLand to remember what Christmas is all about.” She and JJ state, “Our dream is to make a place to remember the little, special things about Christmas. We have three beautiful daughters and have always celebrated with family and friends with our own traditions. It truly is a magical time of year.”

So the DeVito’s join the Christmas Land family and we all get busily to work. Along comes a snowstorm roaring through in October collapsing the tent, sending our spirits amuck. We believe in Christmas magic and with our heads held up high, we forge forward. There were so many beautiful people assisting with a new outlook: a local man who sells tires nearby and his nephew offering a shed for use for Santa as we unveil to him our story of wanting to bring the spirit of Christmas back, a talented decorator who helped us make lemonade out of lemons the storm left us, the Christmas Light guys whom, like pioneers, battled a blizzard to decorate on time, artisans who still came to sell their products, a generous local business man with a huge heart who offers to transport numerous children and their families residing at the Ronald McDonald house in a limousine to experience some Christmas Cheer, and the thousands of people and their families who came no matter what the weather was each weekend.

And now as we gaze upon a New Year in 2017 a new vision comes into light on Furbeck Road and we began to imagine Christmas Land now situated on a beautiful property with 100 year old buildings that once beamed with animals and a feed store. We began to clean up the buildings with the help of two brothers from Greenwich who fell in love with our concept. They breathe fresh air in and fresh paint on to the buildings. They mow the many fields with the help of another neighbor and his son who attended Christmas Land last year with his children and loved it.

Along comes yet another neighbor working hard on his home with inquisitive questions learning of the magic and volunteers his assistance. The brothers continue with the cleanup, which becomes more noticeable to a gentleman living nearby who stops after a glance and says, “What are you boys up to?”

The brothers now intrigued with this man tell him about Christmas and bringing the spirit back. This chap not only becomes excited at the notion but exclaims how he painted this building during his youth and is thrilled to see it come alive again. He then stands gazing a bit perplexed and says, “Do you have Christmas trees to sell?” The one brother replies, “Not yet,” and without hesitation this fine fella says, “Well I do and would love to, as well as wreaths.” So now the elves are very, very busy preparing for 2017’s event! The magic continues in 2017!

Paula Tambasco & Michelle Annese

John and Suzanne DeVito