BUFFALO, Minn. - It takes Terry Nelson and his son three weeks to put up their Christmas decorations.

And it took a matter of seconds for someone else to take them down – by slashing several of them Saturday night with a knife.

“It makes me want to just literally grab the kids by the collar and shake them and say, Why? Why do you do this? Why do you do this?” Nelson said.

As frustrating as a senseless crime can be, Terry and his wife Carla are especially hurt.

“We do this to honor our son,” Terry said.

The Nelsons lost their 8-year-old Christmas-light-loving son Zach in 2000, when an infection reached his heart, 11 years after they lost their baby Christopher to sudden infant death syndrome.

“Devastating. Unreal. Still can't believe it. Think about it a lot. The bottom drops out of your world,” Carla said.

But the following winter, the Nelsons kept adding to their front yard display, knowing that Zach would approve.

“For that. It helps. I always feel that he's here,” Terry said.

“For me it's to tell the two boys, that yep, we're here and we still love you. And we know you're watching over us,” Carla said.

Every year, the Nelsons say the hard work is worth it, for the happiness it brings other children.

“That's what it's here for, to be with kids,” Carla said.

While this family is devoted to keep going, their neighbors are already pitching in, leaving a pail of cash on the Nelson's doorstep to make sure this senseless crime doesn't set them back.

“Makes me feel good,” Terry said, choking back tears.

The Nelsons have filed a police report with the Wright County Sheriff's Office. If you have any information on the vandals, you're asked to call them.

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