WILLIAMSON COUNTY, TEXAS - There's something about seeing the magic of Christmas through kids eyes.
“When I was growing up I begged my parents to go driving around to look at the Christmas lights,” said Mark Dillon.
They're memories that mean even more because of what happened to his family 12 years ago.
During August 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated the Louisiana coast.
Mark and his family, like thousands of others, barely escaped.
“We had eight feet of water in our home,” said Dillon. “We lost everything. The only thing we had were the clothes on our back and the vehicle we drove off with.”
They made the trek to Austin - hoping to start over.
“We could have tried to rebuild, but I think people don't understand the hardships people went through, not just us. My wife was living with her mom and it was just tough. It was a bad situation. All I wanted to do was get my family in a normal environment.”
Surviving a storm like that changes your perspective, your priorities, your purpose.
That's exactly what it did for Mark and his family.
It sparked a new Christmas tradition.
“We weren't together, and it was during the holidays that made a big reason why this is something special for us,” Dillon said.
Mark wanted to make sure his family and others around him always have a reason to smile at Christmas and that's when Elfvis and the Kringles were born.
“Every year I would just add lights, add lights add lights and I had tubs and tubs of old led lights,” he said.
For 10 years now, this awe-inspiring animatronic light show has brought laughter and joy to families in Round Rock and collected thousands of dollars and toys for the Blue and Brown Santa programs.
“We don't want people to go through what we had to go through,” Dillon said.
It's his family's way of giving back to a community that helped them start over and a good reminder to us all of the real reason for the season.
Don’t forget to bring an unwrapped toy for the Blue and Brown Santa Programs.
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