WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. (WPVI) -- The McBride family was looking forward to the first year in which their 2-year-old daughter, Alice, could fully appreciate the spirit of the holiday season.
However, once the COVID-19 pandemic began, it placed all future traditions in a state of limbo.
"We didn't want to make her first holiday season with awareness not be something fun for her," said Brian McBride, Alice's father.
In order to tackle an uncertain future, Brian looked to his past. He recalls growing up surrounded by Lionel Model Trains, a tradition his grandfather started after immigrating to South Philadelphia from Italy in the 1930s.
Nearly a century later, Brian would spend long summer nights building a train set like no other.
"We decided to build an 11-foot-tall tree that's eight feet wide at the bottom and it has three sets of trains that run through it," he said.
Alice was shocked by the result.
In the middle of her living room, hundreds of lights dance to the tune of "Let it Go" from Frozen and "The Imperial March" from Star Wars. Smoke billows from the belly of a model train as it spirals through a Christmas-themed structure. Eager neighbors can even watch through the window as they walk by.
"One of the greatest joys I've had as a parent was just focusing on our little girl and just creating memories with the hand that life has dealt us," said Brian.
Although they were looking forward to attending the 6abc Dunkin' Thanksgiving Day Parade later this month, they are now excited for the virtual programming that will take its place. Programming begins at 8:30am on Thursday, November 26, which is Thanksgiving Day.
To learn more about the 101st 6abc Dunkin' Thanksgiving Day Parade, click here.