For 14 years, Ashley and Austin McLimore have been decorating the exterior of their home for the holiday season. Both love Christmas and have passed on the love of Christmas lights to their children.
Ashley is a photographer and owner of Tomorrow’s Keepsake Photography, and for the past three years, she has offered “Santa Sessions” to her clients in her studio next to her home. Last year, the family decided to host a fundraiser to benefit Christmas Wish.
Ashley posted information on social media about the fundraiser, advertising the opportunity as a great way to share the love of Christmas as well as give back to the community.
The McLimores hosted the event on a Wednesday night, which Ashley said she later received feedback from friends and clients who were unable to attend because of church and school obligations. Although they had a “decent turnout,” they changed the event to a Friday night to accommodate more people.
Those who visit are asked to give a donation to the local Christmas Wish and will then be able to take photos with the Grinch.
“Families must make a monetary donation or donate a new, unopened gift to Christmas Wish to be able to see the Grinch,” Ashley said.
There will also be a light show and the McLimore children will be serving hot cocoa.
Adriane Kluck attended the event last year and said that the McLimore family creates a beautiful display that delights children — all the while supporting a wonderful cause.
“We stopped in last year with our camera and took such great pictures with the Grinch,” Kluck said. “My kids loved it so much they’ve requested to go back this year.”
Giving back to the community is important to the McLimores. The family is currently hosting an exchange student from Italy, and while he is learning about the celebrations in America, he and some other exchange students will help with the event.
“We want them to experience giving back as we have been teaching our kids for many years now,” Ashley said. “It is important to my husband, Austin, and I to give back to our community. We have been blessed in abundance and each year look forward to helping serve those in need during the Christmas season.”
Adrian Bouchie and her 6-year-old son also volunteered to help with last year’s event.
“We have always participated with Christmas wish and this really stepped it up,” Bouchie said. “We donated our time as well as gifts. I really appreciate what they [the McLimores] are doing for this great organization and helping our local charities.”
McLimore said that last year, the event raised over $500 and several toy donations, which they were pleased with, but this year, they hope to do better.
The McLimores are the corner house on East Harmons Ferry Road and Buck Creek Church Road in Utica.
The event is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 6 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. More information can be found on the Facebook events page.