It’s a favourite holiday tradition for many Calgarians — warming up some hot chocolate then jumping in the car and cruising around the city’s neighbourhoods to catch a glimpse of the best residential light displays.
If you can do some good for the community while you’re at it, that’s even better.
That’s where Lighten UP Calgary comes into the picture, says spokesperson Pauline Muschner. She works alongside Silvana Stoesser and Christian Fruhen, the founders and creators of Lighten UP Calgary.
“Every year more and more Calgarians join our family by setting up Christmas lights and inflatables in their yards,” she explains, adding most displays collect food and monetary donations supporting the Calgary Food Bank, Calgary Veterans Bank, and other charities.
“Thanks to all friends and supporters, we can increase our impact on giving to others.”
Giving back one Christmas display at a time
Last year, the initiative raised 1,500 pounds of food for local organizations. This year, they hope to raise 2,000 pounds of food. Participating homes that want to be featured on the website and map can choose to collect donations for the cause.
“Food and monetary donations are very important throughout the year, but Christmas is a great holiday where… everybody wants to do something, and I think viewing these amazing light displays is the best way to spend your time and give something back to charities.”
The heart of Lighten UP Calgary beats in 15003 Deer Run Dr. S.E where Lighten UP founders Stoesser and Fruhen bring a spectacular holiday display to life at their home with the help of friends, family, and volunteers.
“They put so much work in with so many people, and we’re always happy to see people visit,” Muschner says, adding they just held a welcome party last weekend.
How you can get involved
To make things simpler for families, Lighten UP has created a map to those amazing Christmas light displays, sorted by communities that people can drive by and view.
“Every display can participate. It’s free, it’s safe, it’s outdoors, and everybody’s welcome. People can just drive from home to home and have a really nice time with their friends and family,” Muschner adds.
Share your lit-up homes with the organization or take a look at this map and visit some of the great homes around the city while dropping off some donations for the food bank. Submit your details through the Lighten UP Calgary web submission form.
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