A small town in New Jersey seems to have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas, as one homeowner has been hit with a major fine for his annual Christmas light display.
Thomas and Kris Apruzzi have displayed their enormous sound and light show every Christmas for the last 15 years, and their 70,000 bulb setup was even featured on the Great Christmas Light Fight.
Thomas guesses that he has invested more than $100,000 into the display, which includes rooftop lights with Santa, his sleigh, and a full team of reindeer.
But despite the fact that the Apruzzis use their display to raise money for charity, their neighbors in Old Bridge have turned into Grinches, and are working hard to keep the lights turned off this year.
At a meeting on Monday, Old Bridge Township announced the couple must hand over $2,000 for each night of their light show, to cover the cost of police officers who patrol the lines of tourists that check out the Apruzzis' home.
The price also includes moveable light posts for the street.
The Apruzzis were later asked to pay another $1,000 each night, to hire a shuttle bus between a nearby school and their home in the hopes of keeping traffic under control.
The couple say they can’t afford to pay the fines (Thomas calls them "bureaucratic baloney") and have opened a GoFundMe fundraiser to keep the lights on this Christmas.
While they accept donations from visitors, the Apruzzis want to crowdfund the cost of their penalties to save the money they raise for charity, and plan to pay for the first few nights this season out of their own pockets.
Last year, the couple said they donated more than $8,500 dollars to a nonprofit called Home for Our Troops, which builds special homes for wounded veterans.
"There is so much negativity in the world that if I can make people happy just one day, why not?" Thomas said about the annual tradition.
Old Bridge’s Mayor Owen Henry shared another side of the story, telling NJ.com that lines of cars on both sides of the Apruzzis’ street have caused safety concerns. In the past, Apruzzi’s display has attracted more than 1,000 visitors a day.
In a desperate measure, Old Bridge actually tried to rezone the Apruzzis’ street so only residents could park on it last month, which would have seriously limited the couple’s number of visitors.
And while some of the Apruzzis’ neighbors love their light display, others have spit on their truck and shot BBs at their windows.
"A lot of pro-light people do not live over there," Henry explained. "We have to make sure it as safe as we possibly can."
Locals can watch the Apruzzis' home light up each night from Thursday to Sunday, between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., between December 1st and January 1st.