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Holiday home gives to the Philippines: San Mateo family hosts holiday festivities for typhoon victims
December 21, 2013, 05:00 AM By Angela Swartz Daily Journal

Charles and Connie Wright are dressing up at Santa and Mrs. Claus to raise money for the Philippines.

Those hoping to do good, while seeing Santa and observing an intricate train set with a surrounding mini village, should make their ways to the Shoreview neighborhood in San Mateo this weekend or next.

Charles Wright, a father of three and grandfather of two, is opening his well-decorated home to the public to raise money for victims of the Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan, which struck in early November. All the proceeds are going to Global Giving, a nonprofit with a mission to connect donors with grassroots projects around the world to make a high impact.

Wright and his family decorate the home every year for the holidays, but this year decided to ask for a $5 admission fee for visitors when he saw the news about the natural disaster, he said. He doesn’t have a fundraising goal, but hopes to raise as much as he can to help those in need. Having children come by for the festivities is also a part of the reason Wright likes decorating and having people over.

“We do it because the kids like to look at it and my wife and I like playing Santa Claus,” said Wright, who’s lived at the house for five years. “Each year I do a little bit more. This year I added the plexiglass out [around the village].”

Because of his busy schedule as a kickboxing instructor at Undisputed Boxing Gym in San Carlos, Wright began carving the mountains for the 19-foot-by-4-foot village model back in August. The village includes miniature homes, amusement park rides, shops and other items. Talbot’s Toyland also donated a $300 transformer for the train set.

His front lawn holiday flair includes a collection of Santa dolls, inflatable toy animals, lights and remote-controlled Christmas music. He said he also does a huge setup for Halloween as well.

“A little girl was afraid to come in [through the gate] the other night,” Wright said. “Then she didn’t want to leave.”

Normally, Wright said he and his family will donate money to St. Jude’s or other children’s organizations, but decided to switch to help the Philippines this year because of what he saw as a more dire need.

“It needs it a little more,” he said.

The backyard will feature finger food, a giant inflatable reindeer and another decorated village model.

For more on Global Giving, visit The home is located at 1317 S. Norfolk St. in San Mateo and there will be visits with Santa, food and viewing of the decorations 6 p.m.-8 p.m. this weekend on Dec. 21, 22, 23 and next on Dec. 28, 29 and 30.

(650) 344-5200 ext. 105



Tags: wright, village, santa, other, because, little,

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