Family’s dazzling holiday light display helps raise money for autism

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AURORA, Colo. — An Aurora family known for its over-the-top holiday lights is hoping to use their popular display for good.

“So I have been a lifelong Christmas light addict,” Corey Christiansen told FOX31.

He started years ago with 2,500 lights and now boasts a glowing display more than 45,000 bulbs strong.

“Yeah, that’s why I told you to bring sunglasses,” he said.

The family’s home is a beacon for drivers on the hunt for holiday cheer.

“And that’s why I do this now too. I’m certainly a big kid now, but it’s just to make Christmas special for all the kids in our neighborhood but especially my kids,” Christiansen said.

Corey and his wife, Monica, have two children: nine-year-old Brady and seven-year-old Chloe.

“A few years ago we noticed there were some differences with our kids,” he said. “We weren’t expecting the diagnosis of severe autism.”

Both of the children are on the autism spectrum but neither of the parents had any experience with special needs.

“It’s tough. You lose that sense of just kind of what’s going to be normal,” Christiansen said.

That’s when they found the Autism Society of Colorado.

“We knew our children needed help, but we didn’t know what help they needed — much less where to find it,” he said. “They started us on the path: 'How do we apply for Medicaid for the kids? How do we set up occupational, physical, speech therapy?'”

They decided to use their holiday skills to give back to the organization that gave them so much.

The family installed a custom sign in their display encouraging visitors to donate to the Autism Society of Colorado by texting “BRIGHTLIGHT” to 44321.

“We raised almost $1,200 for the Autism Society last year, and this year we’re hoping to do even more than that,” Christiansen said.

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