'Griswold decorator' uses elaborate holiday display to raise money for Alzheimer's Association

'Griswold Decorator' uses holiday display to raise money for Alzheimer's Association
Posted at 6:44 PM, Dec 09, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It's a tradition for many to go see the big, bright light display of one woman's home. She's deciding to use all that attention for something good. It's a cause that couldn't be any closer to her.

Some films are so beloved, they become tradition. No doubt, Clark Griswold of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is an inspiration for a house you may know on Bellevue's General George Patton Road.

The reviews? People love it more than a one-year membership to the Jelly of the Month Club.

"People honk and stop by and say, 'hey Griswold!'" smiled Jennifer Corcoran, the expert of exterior illumination behind the display. "I get a kick out of it. It's a lot of fun."

She's who launched the hap-hap-happiest group on Facebook, the Griswolders Christmas Decorating Club, now with nearly 17,000 members.

"It all started with my 1999 clearance giraffe," laughed Corcoran, pointing to a mix of dinosaurs, snowmen, Santas, gremlins, unicorns and more in her yard.

While you may know the lights, you may not know the story of the house itself. It was the home of Jim and Ann Corcoran, her grandparents.

"This was their wedding day. 1941," said Corcoran, thumbing through some pictures. "They knew each other for 80 years, were married for over 70 years. I think they were just meant to be together. A couple days before my grandmother died, he's telling my grandmother, 'when you're walking toward the pearly gates, walk really slow and wait for me so we can go through together.'"

In the years before her grandpa died, Corcoran said this man she loved so much lived with Alzheimer's.

"Just horrible to watch somebody who was so smart and so sharp, not know who I was," she said. "All I could think is how terrifying that must be to not recognize anyone. It's a terrible, terrible disease."

This year, alongside all those decorations people come to see, is something new. A QR code has been added to the yard where people can donate to the Alzheimer's Association. Corcoran's hope is the other Griswold decorators can raise money for Alzheimer's research too.

Just as a beloved film can become a holiday tradition, Jennifer's about keeping up traditions too. Her tradition of decorations is in memory of a grandma who loved lights. In memory of her grandpa, is a new tradition; raising money for a cause close to her heart.

To donate to Corcoran's Griswolding to End Alz effort, visit here.