Langley’s Amanda and Bryce Thomas have been putting up Christmas lights at their residence since they got married in 2006. However, during the pandemic, they turned this fun family tradition into something special – a fundraiser for cancer patients.
Since then, the couple, who call their home ‘the jingle house,’ have been decorating their house and raising money for BC Cancer Foundation.
The jingle house, adorned with Christmas lights and decorations, is a tribute to Amanda’s parents, Sheila and Paul, who loved the holiday season and festival lights. After Amanda lost her mom and dad to cancer, she decided to “channelize her grief into something good.”
“You hear about the increase in cancer rates but you don’t really want to think about it until you’re forced to, like we were,” said Amanda. “The thought that this could happen with someone else didn’t let me sleep at night,” she continued.
Motivated to help others and in the true spirit of giving, the couple set up a donation box outside their home and a banner with a customized link to their online fundraiser.
The efforts resulted in the collection of $850. This year the couple hopes to double that amount.
“This idea was something that started from grief. But from that pain we have created joy… joy for our family and joy for the community. We love to see how our lights bring smiles to people’s faces, and how they come back year after year,” said Amanda, a mom of two.
This year, the couple has invested in inflatables and gemstone LED lights, which they can control via a mobile application, allowing them to display custom colours and animations.
“The jingle house might not be the biggest Christmas display around. It’s not the flashiest. But it’s got so much heart and soul poured into every inch of lights. And I think people really feel it when they come by.”
A family of four, Amanda, along with her husband and kids, start working on the display around Remembrance Day every year. It takes them close to two weeks to finish the work, with Bryce working on lights during the weekends and after work.
Bryce, a carpenter for the Township of Langley, said the lights had brought his family closer together with their neighbours.
“We are so fortunate to have the most wonderful, supportive neighbours and they have become good friends. It is a tradition now for me and our neighbour Dave Dhaliwal to help each other putting up the lights,” said Bryce. “Together, we have this real sense of pride in what we’re creating for our families and for the neighbourhood,” he continued.
Not only people next door, even others in the neighbourhood are aware of the couple’s light decorations. During COVID, when the family couldn’t be with friends indoors, they decided to put chairs out in the driveway, huddle around the propane fire pit and spend some time with their neighbours.
“It was the most amazing night, to be outside with cars stopping by, people getting out to take pictures and tell us how beautiful the lights were. We felt really connected to the community that night, so that’s a tradition we’re going to keep going.”
The couple is encouraging people to check out their Christmas lights and “donate to a worthy cause this year.”
“For families like ours, the greatest gift you could give is hope for a future without cancer,” Amanda concluded.
Those interested in donating can drop cash donations in the donation box at jingle house at 7385 201B Street or online http://Tinyurl.com/JingleHouse2022
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