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More than $3,000 worth of donated decorations will light up Comstock, Nebraska, during holidays

November 22, 2018

As soon as the sun goes down this Thanksgiving, the village of Comstock will take on a magical transformation that will last through New Year’s.

More than $3,000 worth of Christmas lights and decorations have been contributed by anonymous donors to help transform 15 blocks of empty businesses and lots into themed Christmas scenes.

Five years ago, Comstock resident Henry Nuxoll started decorating his home in honor of his 15-month-old granddaughter and his late twin brother so he “could see the lights from heaven.”

The next day, garbage bags filled with more Christmas decorations showed up for Nuxoll at the post office, with an anonymous note attached: “Hope you can use these.”

Since then, Nuxoll has collected 100 wreaths, 50 Santas, 50 snowmen, 75 inflatables and decorative trees and old vehicles from donors, most of whom remain anonymous, to decorate the abandoned buildings and lots along what used to be Comstock’s booming business district.

The donated decorations were more than he knew what to do with, so the Christmas transformation became a townwide effort.

Nuxoll and a team of about 12 volunteers have spent the last month constructing more than 15 themed Christmas scenes, including what Nuxoll calls “Shrek’s House,” “Grinchville” and “Santa’s Workshop.”

Along with the donated decorations, Nuxoll also buys unique Santas and snowmen every year to add to the collections.

Nuxoll said he walks 1 mile to turn on the lights at dusk and 1 mile to turn them off again at 11 p.m. The decorations won’t come down until after New Year’s, because families will still be coming home for the holidays, Nuxoll said.

Comstock postmaster Candy Kirwan is organizing the fundraiser to help cover the extra electricity costs, which total more than $1,000, she said.

On Dec. 2 from 5 to 7 p.m., visitors can enjoy homemade chili and cinnamon rolls at the Community Center for whatever price they feel like paying. Kirwan asked Comstock resident Debbie Fisher to make 120 cinnamon rolls for the last fundraiser two years ago, and they all were gone by the end of the day. More than $1,200 was raised that year, Kirwan said.

Weather permitting, carriage and firetruck tours will also be available.

“It’s all free will,” Kirwan said. “You don’t have to even give anything if you want to just come through and enjoy the lights.”

Comstock is about 240 miles west of Omaha.

Some people come every day to see the lights, Nuxoll said, because “one time isn’t really enough.” Others, like the folks from Broken Bow who have shown up in a limousine for the past few years, travel more than 30 miles.

“It just brings the reasons behind the season all together,” Kirwan said. “The magic of Christmas never leaves you, no matter how old you get.”

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