SOMERSET, Mass. (WPRI) — The Hills’ Spectacular Christmas Light display has been around for a few years. But this year, the creators believe it’s even brighter.
And Jay Hill says it’s not just because there are more lights.
“I believe I have 60,000 lights,” Hill said. “I lost count after like two.”
Jay and his wife, Nicole, take Christmas seriously.
“I start the day after Halloween and I hope to set up and have it up by Black Friday,” Jay said.
This year, the Hills decided to shift their focus onto the memory of someone as bright as their Patton Street home: Nicole Hill’s cousin, Anna-Paula Ferreira.
“She had a smile that when she walked in the room you just had to smile,” Nicole said. “She was so nice and when you had a rough time you could talk to her and she would make you forget it.”
And like the Hills, Anna-Paula loved Christmas, according to her son Tim Ferreira.
“It was very special,” Ferreira said.
Anna-Paula also loved her job with Fall River’s Ser Jobs For Progress, where she helped young parents improve their family’s future with education.
Ferreira said it was a special opportunity for his mother who at one point struggled a bit herself as she helped his sister.
“Difficult decisions for these parents. Books and formula, keeping food on the table and keeping the lights on,” Ferreira said. “Juggling all those financial obligations can be very tough.”
He lost his mother and Hill lost her cousin last December when Anna-Paula succumbed to bile-duct cancer.
Although Ferreira says he sees his mother in his daughter Annabelle’s smile.
“She was vivacious and full of energy. Always positive,” Ferreira said. “She made life look easy. If she was having a bad day you’d never know it.”
So, as the Hills’ Spectacular started taking shape from the lights on the lawn to the life-sized sleigh on the roof, raising a few coins for a scholarship fund in cousin Anna-Paula’s memory seemed like a perfect fit.
“I was floored that they thought of us,” Ferreira said. “For them to think of it out of their own graciousness and want to help our cause was just fantastic.”
When the sun goes down and the Hills hit the switch on the lights, Cousin Nicole is confident Anna-Paula is watching.
“When we watch the light display I know that she’s here and I know that she’s looking down and she’s loving it,” she said.
“Absolutely,” Ferreira said. “And that’s the entire intention of this is. To have her spirit and her energy for this cause continue.”
The money raised will fund scholarships for those young parents Anna-Paula loved to work with, and the Hills are also collecting items for a food bank that helps veterans as well.
You can see all the details on the Hills’ Facebook page.