Fort Wayne man decorates yard for Christmas, brings holiday cheer to families

Matt and Jody Ellenwood have put up the extravagant display since the year they got married. They say it's all about bringing Christmas to life.

Posted: Dec 8, 2018 7:54 PM
Updated: Dec 8, 2018 11:04 PM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT)- A Fort Wayne man and his wife have decorated their house on Pelham Drive for the last 27 years in hopes of bringing holiday cheer to anyone in need. 

Matt and Jody Ellenwood have put up the extravagant display since the year they got married. They say it's all about bringing Christmas to life. 

"Every year I try to incorporate a lot of the stuff I do for kids, so they can walk through. To me, that's what it's all about. It's about the kids," Matt Ellenwood said. 

Every year the display gets a little bigger. They've even been added to the Visit Fort Wayne  list of lights to see. 

"On an average Friday and Saturday night we'll probably see 25-30 people," Ellenwood said. 

The display features 18,000 lights and popular characters such as The Grinch, Frosty the Snowman, and a Minion. But, perhaps the most special feature is a mailbox where kids can drop a letter for Santa. 

"I get everything. I get some ones that pull at your heart, where kids talk about wanting groceries. And I get stuff where they want to get gift cards for their grandmothers. I get kids that say they haven't been good and they hope they're not on the naughty list," Ellenwood said. 

No matter the wish, he said he works closely with Kris Kringle, and can make sure you get a letter back. 

"Society is making kids grow up so fast, and the way the world is changing, the kids don't have a chance to just be kids. And that's why my wife, Jody, and I do this. So kids can be kids," Ellenwood said. 

If the lights ever go out, that's an easy fix. 

"It's a lot of work, but it's well worth it to see the kids," he said. 

You can visit the display at 721 Pelham Drive weekends until midnight and weekdays until 11:00 p.m. It's completely free to visit. 

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