It's the end of an era on Lexington Street in New Britain.
2016 will be the final year for the Christmas lights at Rita Giancola's house, according to her granddaughter, Michelle. Rita passed away in August.
"We decided to do it for one last year for the community and for us as well. We wanted to put it out there that this is it. And she wanted us to do it, so we had to," Michelle said.
Even though Rita had been putting up her Christmas display for years, it wasn't always an open house.
"There were people peaking in her windows, so then in 1978 she decided to open it to the public and it just took off from there," said Michelle.
Rita's family tradition grew, delighting generations of people, young and old alike.
"She, I could imagine right now, is smiling so big up there and feeling all the joy that she herself was spreading to everybody else. And I know that she is now looking down and feeling it and smiling huge," said Michelle.
While this may be the final year for actual lights, the light that Rita was for her community will shine long into the future.
"She was doing this all the way up until the end. She was going to plan on doing it still if she was still with us. She was going to still try to get up on those ladders and do as much as she could," Michelle said.
The open house on Lexington Street will be the week of December 16 through 23 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. each night. Admission is a non-perishable food item. Rita's family will also be lighting the outside as often as they can during the Christmas season.