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Norwalk's Setti Christmas Village Wrapping Up After 26 Years

Rick and Joan Setti in their living room, which is just as adorned with Christmas decorations as their front lawn. Rick and Joan Setti in their living room, which is just as adorned with Christmas decorations as their front lawn.
Rick and Joan Setti in their living room, which is just as adorned with Christmas decorations as their front lawn. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue
The Christmas Villageat 6 Midwood Road in Norwalk. The Christmas Villageat 6 Midwood Road in Norwalk.
The Christmas Villageat 6 Midwood Road in Norwalk. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue
Even after 26 years, they still added new characters from the movie "Frozen" this season. Even after 26 years, they still added new characters from the movie "Frozen" this season.
Even after 26 years, they still added new characters from the movie "Frozen" this season. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue
The Settis have set up a stand for kids to write letters to Santa, and receive hundreds every year. The Settis have set up a stand for kids to write letters to Santa, and receive hundreds every year.
The Settis have set up a stand for kids to write letters to Santa, and receive hundreds every year. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue
A display the Settis built to remember the victims of Newtown. They hope to donate it to Newtown after this year. A display the Settis built to remember the victims of Newtown. They hope to donate it to Newtown after this year.
A display the Settis built to remember the victims of Newtown. They hope to donate it to Newtown after this year. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue
Families take a stroll through the Christmas Village on the Settis front lawn, admiring all the hand-made displays. Families take a stroll through the Christmas Village on the Settis front lawn, admiring all the hand-made displays.
Families take a stroll through the Christmas Village on the Settis front lawn, admiring all the hand-made displays. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue
One of the many hand-crafted displays that the Settis have built during their celebrated years of bringing Christmas joy to Norwalk. One of the many hand-crafted displays that the Settis have built during their celebrated years of bringing Christmas joy to Norwalk.
One of the many hand-crafted displays that the Settis have built during their celebrated years of bringing Christmas joy to Norwalk. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue

NORWALK, Conn. – After 26 years of delighting Norwalk residents with their huge Christmas light display, Rick and Joan Setti are going out with a bang.

This will be the final year the couple hosts Setti’s Christmas Village on the lawn of their Midwood Road home. But before they say goodbye for good, they will get to showcase their beloved display on a national stage when they appear on ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight” on Monday night at 8 p.m.

“It’s tough. We don’t want to give it up,” said Joan Setti. The Settis are now in their early 70s and say it takes a lot of energy to set up the light display every year. Preparations begin in February, when Rick Setti designs new displays. Lights start going up in August, with trees and houses following in November.

The two have been building elaborate Christmas decorations since before they were even married. It started with simple light displays out on the front lawn and expanded. The display now includes more than 150,000 lights, more than 400 characters, and attracts about 5,000 visitors every year. About 500 kids come out on Christmas Eve, when the Settis dress up as Santa and Mrs. Claus.

“The first couple of years we would dress up as Santa and Mrs. Claus and walk up and down the street. Cars would be coming by and we would hand out candy canes through the car windows. Eventually my son said we should set up chairs and let them come to you. And it grew from there,” Joan Setti said.

“What I’ll miss is the kids. We’ve been playing Santa and Mrs. Claus for 25 years, and on Christmas Eve night each and every child sits on my lap and tells me what they want for Christmas,” Rick Setti said.

Many people who came as children now come with kids of their own, and he said that many children and adults have expressed sadness that they won’t have the Christmas Village to look forward to anymore.

“It’s kind of hard to give it up. We’ve made many, many new friends and met a lot of new people,” he said.

This month the Settis were recognized by the Norwalk Common Council for their efforts to bring cheer to the city. They said that, despite rumors that they’re moving to Florida, they don’t plan on going anywhere. Though no other houses in Norwalk compares to theirs, Rick Setti says that it’s about celebrating the spirit of the season.

“Even if you put up a bow, or a Christmas wreath, or a Styrofoam candy cane or string of lights, you’re still doing something. You’ve got the Christmas spirit. I don’t expect the neighbors to do what I do, I’m nuts,” he said.

Their episode of “The Great Christmas Light Fight” will air Monday night at 8 p.m. on ABC. They believe that their house stands out because every display and character is handmade with love.

“Our house is different because it’s an old-fashioned display,” Rick Setti said. “This is what I remember, this is what Joanie remembers growing up. This is the way we see Christmas.”

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