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Barrie family brings back inflatable holiday display after last year's vandalism

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A Barrie family overwhelmed by community generosity after their Christmas display was destroyed by vandals last year has refused to let the Grinch-like act diminish their holiday spirit.

"I'm not going to lie; it kind of broke me. To me, it was very devastating. Some of those we've had for a while. Some of them were bought for our son, very special," said Lori Carter.

"It hurt, it did. It made us really question whether we wanted to do it again. We had even talked about it because the cost of replacement was up there," explained Andrew Carter, Lori's husband.

But support from a local Home Depot and anonymous community members who generously replaced the items restored the family's Christmas spirit.

"It was that first knock on the door and just somebody coming and saying, 'We can't believe that happened to you. We love that you do this. It's amazing. Please take this from us. We want to see you guys rebuild," said Lori.

A seven-foot tall inflatable Santa lays in the snow after someone allegedly slashed it on the front lawn of a Barrie, Ont., home on Wed., Nov. 16, 2022 (CTV News/Kraig Krause)

The Carters said sometimes it just takes a little adversity to remind you of the good in the world.

"It feels amazing. Nothing short of amazing. And it's really nice to know that the support this there," said Andrew.

The family said the reason they keep building the displays is simple and they have no end in sight.

"I just love to be able to look out that window and see it. You see kids coming by, and they're just staring. They're in awe, and it's just amazing to see the joy that it brings for kids," Lori explained.

Inflatable Christmas decorations adorn the front lawn of a Barrie, Ont., home on Fri., Nov. 17, 2023. (CTV News/Ian Duffy)

"We have some who drag their parents out every day to come take a look, and there's nothing wrong with that. So as long as the kids get a good kick out of it, we enjoy it," said Andrew.

The Carters also do a big Halloween display, so they take about a week-long break after that before building up the winter neighbourhood attraction. This year, they added some new inflatables to their Christmas display.

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