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PHOTOS: Ridgewood family decks out home with Christmas display, collects donations for Toys for Tots

Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

A longtime Ridgewood family wants to help spread holiday cheer amid the COVID-19 pandemic with their first Christmas extravaganza.

Giovanni Perna, who ran for Assembly District 38 in this year’s election, said he and his family wanted to give back this holiday season. He said it was his mother, Cathy Mazzarella, who not only thought of the idea, but also decorated most of the home.

“I’m in shock,” said Perna, adding that their family has lived in Ridgewood for more than 40 years. “My mother decorates every year … every year she would buy more and more, and it came out to this.”

The home of the Perna family in Queens, New York, is decorated and ready for the 2020 Christmas season. (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)
From left to right, Gaetano Acevedo, Anthony Acevedo, Cathy Mazzarella, John Perna, Giovanni Perna and Tommaso Perna at their home. (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)
John Perna and Cathy Mazzarella. (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)

Their home, located at 1715 Summerfield St., features colorful Christmas lights as well as inflatable snowmen, candy canes and Santa Claus.

What sets their home apart is that while visitors can marvel at the outside of their home, they may also walk through their decorated driveway and into their backyard for an intimate and immersive experience.

Photo by Gabriele Holtermann
Photo by Gabriele Holtermann
Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

They also set up a donation box in order to collect toys to give to Toys for Tots. They will be collecting toys until Dec. 20.

“This is to put a smile on kids’ faces,” said Mazzarella. “I know a lot of people lost their jobs. I have four boys. They’re all grown now, but I always wanted them to have [gifts too].”

Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

Their home, driveway and backyard is open to the public from 6 to 8 p.m., and the lights will be on from 5 to 11 p.m. throughout the weeks in December.

The family asks visitors to wear masks and social distance, and will provide hand sanitizer before and after entrance to their driveway.

“If you have nothing to do or want something for your family to get into the holiday spirit, you can come by and check it out,” said Perna. “If you want to donate, that’d be awesome too.”

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