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She Was Shamed for Still Having Christmas Lights Up

Sara Pascucci received a letter in the mail on Febuary 3 scolding her for still having Christmas decorations up. The anonymous letter read: “Take your Christmas lights down! It’s Valentine’s Day!!!!!!” While the letter would have upset her in normal circumstances, Pascucci said, it hit especially hard now. She lost both her father and her aunt to COVID-19 less than one week apart.

Her father, who lived with her, put up the Christmas decorations immediately after Thanksgiving—as he did every year. In the weeks following his death on Jan. 15, Pascucci couldn’t bring herself to take the decorations down. Receiving the harsh letter, she said, was “… a major blow to the heart. No one really knows what is going on inside the house or why we didn’t take down the decorations.”

She shared the letter in the Long Island Moms Facebook group and explained why it was particularly painful, in the hopes that the anonymous sender might see her post. She wrote, “The family has been preoccupied with funeral arrangements, mortgage/utility payments, and just the grieving process of it all. So yes, we haven’t gotten around to taking down his Christmas decorations. Be kind to people because you never know what they are going through.”

The community was outraged on her behalf. Within minutes of her sharing the post, dozens of messages flooded Pascucci’s Facebook inbox. Neighbors sent the Pascucci family heartfelt cards, flowers, meals, and a GoFundMe page was created to help cover mounting mortgage payments and funeral costs.

Beyond the private acts of kindness, what struck Pascucci the most, she said, is that many neighbors started to put their own holiday decorations back up so she wouldn’t feel so alone. Bethpage residents climbed up to their attics and down to their basements to retrieve the decorations they had already stored away for the season. In early February, they redecorated their homes for Christmas.

Although the holiday season is long past, twinkly lights and festive ornaments recently reappeared on the streets of Bethpage, in a show of support for a grieving neighbor.

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