THE family of Norm Tong, the man who for 15 years has lit up the festive season in Cuthberts Road Alfredton, hopes for a Christmas miracle this year, after the recent death of their patriarch.
Mr Tong died on in August, aged 81. His family hopes to honour his legacy this Christmas by putting up the famous lights and nativity scene one last time this year.
However it may be a bridge too far without some hard-working and kind community members who they hope can pitch in to help with the display.
Mr Tong's son David will be working on the yearly project as much as he can, but with his brother Chris living with a disability and his mother Margaret unable to assist, the family hopes someone in the community will help them to pay one final tribute.
It is planned that a special portrait painted of Mr Tong will be the centrepiece of the Christmas Story display this year as a final goodbye.
"We've had it up every year but one since 2005 and it's gradually grown over the years to what you saw last year," Mrs Tong said.
"We're a Christian family and you see so many around that are Santa Claus, there is no real Christmas Story from the bible.
"We start with the angel coming to Mary and then it's a path which goes right the way through the story. We quote various passages of the bible. We start next door and goes all the way through to the nativity scene."
David Tong said the display, which has "countless" lights and "26 different connectors", takes five weeks to prepare. It is aimed is to be up and running by December 1.
"It's a good five weeks if it's just the two of us, but hopefully we can get a little bit of help," Mr Tong said.
"We've got lights all over the roof, a big angel, a star on the roof.
"The lights attract people to the house and then they can read the bible story from there. We're fortunate we don't have neighbours across the road so we can have the lights from about 8pm to 11pm each night."
David said the family also handed out 2500 Christmas cards to families who came to visit and last year around 8000 candy canes.
"It's just something we do, the cards also have the Christmas message in it, it's something we're very passionate about. This will be our last year though," he said.
"We'll likely offer the display to one of the local churches if they are interested in taking it."
Chris Tong said the tradition had been going for so long that young couples who saw the lights when they were children are now bringing their own children.
"There are people who come here because they remembered coming here during their childhood," he said. "We had some couples last year who even brought their baby because they remembered coming when they were younger."
Mrs Tong said the lights were always a passion for her husband.
"He thought it was a really good outreach to people to let them know about the real story of Christmas," she said. "One year we had a mum say to us she hadn't heard the whole story since she was in primary school.
"That's something that you hear more often now. Norm enjoyed seeing the enjoyment of people's faces and he used to get out there when he could and talk to everyone who came through."
The family also use the display to raise money for Mercy Ships, an international aid organisation which provides medical services off the coast of Africa.
"Whatever money has come in has always gone to Mercy Ships, we don't see any of it ourselves."
Any person wishing to help put up the display can email David Tong at firstname.lastname@example.org
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