SAGAMORE HILLS TOWNSHIP, Ohio — On Brandywine Road in Sagamore Hills Township, you can find Don Rambacher, a man with an unmatched passion for Christmas. His front yard is filled with lights, a display that has grown over the last 19 years and takes about 120 hours to set up, he said. 

What You Need To Know

  • Christmas is here and one man is spreading lots of holiday cheer

  • A man from northeast Ohio goes above and beyond during the holiday season 

  • He puts out a huge light display in his front yard and asks for donations 

  • Every penny goes to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

 “I've had people ask me, 'so do you decorate for Halloween?'" he said. "I said, 'yeah, with Christmas lights'.” 

Every day at 5:30 p.m, he lights up the sky, and right away cars start to come by. Rambacher gets dressed as Santa Claus, grabs his bucket of candy canes and gets ready to greet the visitors. During the month of December, hundreds of people stop by, some more than once. 

“I love these lights,” said Andrew Kopec, an 11-year-old neighbor. “I've probably, I've seen them about 50 times. It makes me feel joyful. I like it a lot.”

Don Rambacher with Andrew Kopec. (Spectrum News 1/Taylor Bruck)

But Rambacher doesn’t stop there. Not only does he go above and beyond with his light display, he goes above and beyond for charities. Three years ago, he started asking the community for donations. He gives every penny to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. 

The first year, he raised more than $5,000. Last year, he raised $38,000 and this year he’s aiming for $50,000. So far this year, he's raised a little more than $20,000.

“I get to meet people at their very best,” Rambacher said. “They come in, they're extremely gracious. I hear a lot of people say how much they like it, how much joy it brings them. And hey, if I can do something to make people's lives a little bit brighter, a little bit better. That's fantastic. I'm glad. I'm glad I'm glad I have that opportunity.”

Don Rambacher with Bob and Marie Maier. (Spectrum News 1/Taylor Bruck)

Rambacher’s generosity is extra special to some neighbors. Bob and Marie Maier’s son passed away from cancer at the age of 18 and was treated at St. Jude. They said these lights mean a lot to them. 

“I think it's marvelous,” Bob Maier said. “And there couldn't be a better hospital or any facility to donate to.”

To Rambacher, it’s the people that make the holidays so special. The stories he hears, the smiles he sees, and witnessing a community’s selfless generosity. 

“I lost my grandfather on March 27, 2022 and every year we, me and my mom, would come and we would show these lights to him and take a bunch of pictures,” neighbor Emily Zwegat said. “And he always loved them. He would have the biggest smile on his face. And he just loved the holiday season.”

Rambacher said to him, the spirit of giving is what Christmas is all about. 

“Those are heartwarming stories,” Rambacher said. “That just makes it so worthwhile to know that it means that much to somebody. And I'm really glad to be able to be part of that.”

Neighbors call Rambacher’s house a unique display of holiday spirit and say he’s a prime example of someone making the world literally and figuratively a brighter place. 

“Life is a lot about making memories,” Rambacher said. “I mean, that's what you have when you get older are all sorts of memories. So if I can create memories for people, that's just, that's great. I love the fact that I can do that.”

Rambacher is accepting donations until Jan. 6. That’s also when he takes his lights down. To donate you can visit here