John Krusinski Is Milford’s Very Own Father Christmas

For the first time this holiday season, Christmas lights twinkle and shine brightly in an otherwise dark suburban night in a quiet Milford street. Snowflakes and icicles glisten across the home’s driveway, while the house itself is a backdrop to lights that shine like the star on a Christmas tree. At the edge of the property, there is a clock counting down the days, hours, minutes, and even seconds until the arrival of Christmas Day — right next to Santa Claus himself. That clock is next to a bright red mailbox that is visible even in the dark evening.

This lights display was created by John Krusinski, a Milford native with a passion for Christmas and for giving back to his local community. Krusinski’s passion for Christmas first began when his parents drove him and his sisters around to see Christmas lights when he was a kid himself. Now, his home is one of the lights people would come to see — complete with Santa’s Big Red Mailbox ready for gift donations.

“When I was a kid, my Dad & Grandpas would outline the entire house & fill all the trees, even the basketball hoop, with Christmas lights. Since then, I’ve been obsessed with Christmas Decorations,” said Krusinski.

Preparation for this display began in early November. Krusinski said that he plans out his vision, and then takes a day to work on it while it’s light out. He will then go ahead and add little things to it each night until the grand reveal — Black Friday.

“My rule of thumb is that when the Milford Green turns on, it’s the official start to Christmas and any and all Christmas lights can be turned on for the Season; and that’s when mine go on,” said Krusinski. “The plan is for lots of lights and a call from Clark Griswold.”

On brand with his passion for Christmas, Krusinski runs the Christmas in Milford Facebook group, a group complete with over 8,000 members to date. Christmas in Milford is a group that shares all of the beautifully lit homes in Milford and its surrounding towns. However, it all began simply with a list of homes that he had created back when he moved back home from college and would frequent year after year. Soon enough, Krusinski said that he began getting requests so often that he created the Facebook page.

“This page is dedicated to the many beautifully decorated homes in Milford and even our surrounding cities,” said Krusinski.

Krusinski also runs the Milford Holiday Lights contest, where residents can enter and vote for the most festive house in Milford. Starting on the day after Thanksgiving, residents can visit the Milford Holiday Lights website and enter submissions. The voting, Krusinski says, will commence on December 16, and close on December 30. Then, he will be tasked with driving around to see them firsthand.

Prizes, according to Krusinski, include the following: First place will be a check for $1,000 second place will be a check for $250 and third place will be $100. According to Krusinski, the remaining categories will receive a couple hundred dollars worth of giftcards donated from local businesses and restaurants. Some of the sponsors include Orange Ale House and Flipside Burger.

While the spirit of Christmas is one of Krusinski’s passions, the other is giving back to the community. Krusinski is the founder of Krusinski Cares, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to “mission is to give back to the Milford Community through various Fundraisers & events throughout the year, as well as supporting & giving back to our local Emergency Personnel,” according to the website. However, there is no specific organizations that he supports.

“There’s really no specific/singled out organizations I support, I like to support all & everyone,” he said.

While Krusinski himself gives back, since Krusinski Kares was created, Krusinski collected donations for the Milford Police to provide Thanksgiving Dinner in 2021, and created fundraisers for individuals in need — just to name a few.

What really sparked his drive for raising money for charity was his fraternity’s involvement for raising funds for ALS back when he was in college.

“Within the fraternity, was a Non-Profit organization called Iron Phi in which brothers would participate in an athletic event & raise money for ALS, resulting in becoming an Iron Phi. In 2012, after fundraising through local restaurants, I raised $1,000 for ALS and became our chapter’s first Iron Phi,” he said. “From there I became our Chapter’s Philanthropy Chairman for the rest of my College experience and in 2015 created the first Walk for ALS on CCSU Campus, which raised nearly $12,000 for the ALS Association, earning us the title of Iron Chapter, the first in Connecticut. This experience is what really sparked my drive for raising funds for groups & individuals in need.”

In fact, one of the ways that Krusinski gives back during the holiday season is that little mailbox located outside of Krusinski’s home. Santa’s Big Red Mailbox began in fall 2017 when Krusinski was unemployed and decided to register his home as a Toys for Tots drop off location. Due to New England weather conditions, he said he made a trip to Lowe’s to buy a large “red post office style” to “set up outside my home to collect toys.” He said it was made out of “cheap plastic,” so instead he bought the materials, designed and created the mailbox himself.

“Four years later and it’s still outside standing strong and collecting toys,” Krusinski said. “It’s gotten a few coats of paint, a friend of mine sent me Toys for Tots decals to put on it and it’s a big hit and always brings lots of smiles when I put it outside!”

Since its inception, Santa’s Big Red Mailbox has been a huge success according to Krusinski. He credits that since “it’s out there 24/7,” so no one has to “worry about business hours or the door being closed” since many Toys for Tots drop-off locations are placed inside businesses.

“Every day when I get home from work, there’s a dozen new toys in there or the Mailbox is full,” Krusinski said. “Building it was definitely one of the best ideas I’ve had.”

To donate to Santa’s Big Red Mailbox, please use this link for further information.

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