An electrician may have felt it was Christmas time already when he entered Linda Saretzky’s home in late October.
Saretzky needed some electrical handiwork after the mammoth Christmas village scene display inside her bungalow broke a breaker. And like anyone who sees the spectacle of lights and moving displays that adorn an entire corner wall, he was amazed.
About 55 pieces of collectibles are carefully lined up along five shelves covered with cotton batton. There’s a light that rotates within a lighthouse, a toboggan hill where two sledders zip down on, a Santa Claus circling around on a pole, as well as animated skating rinks and moving train displays.
This 60-year-old grandmother of eight started amassing a large display of Christmas village scene ornaments about 12 years ago when she moved to Red Deer. Prior to that, she used to set her pieces throughout the house.
Every year around this time, she takes the pieces out of their boxes in the basement furnace room and carts them upstairs to the living room.
Then she begins her design, with the help of husband Lawrence who gets the shelves ready after they have moved the furniture away. It takes more than a week to have the Christmas spectacle all done.
“I build it all up and I use Tupperware and boxes and extra soap — anything that’s the right size to put (the ornaments) at different levels,” said Saretzky, inside her home in Westlake. “And then I put the snow all over it.”
Saretzky has a mixture of Christmas village scene brands including Lemax, Department 56, as well as from retailer Costco.
Her favourite pieces include the moving Nutcracker dancing display given as a gift by her two of her grandchildren, Bailey, nine, and Anneesa, five.
Saretzky also enjoys the moving ferris wheel and merry-go-round that her husband bought.
One of her oldest, a skating pond, was purchased about 20 years ago.
The display is probably worth about $5,000.
Shivawn Whitehead, one of Saretzky’s four children, said it’s become a real family effort because they’ve added to the collection over the years. She normally does a video each year and then posts it on Facebook.
“I love it!,” said Whitehead, mother of three children. “Personally, I wouldn’t want to do it all. But it’s an ongoing joke as to who is going to get to deal with it when Mom can’t.”
Throughout the house, there’s decorations already up for Christmas. In the kitchen is a ceramic display of a Santa, 147 cm in height, holding a boy in one arm while a girl clutches a present. Downstairs is an artificial Christmas tree packed full of ornaments handpainted by Saretzky.
Loving all things Christmas began at an early age when Saretzky’s mother owned a florist shop.
“She started the flower business when my dad passed away at nine,” she said. “From then on, I began collecting Christmas stuff because she was into it. She was a very crafty lady.”
Saretzky has a following of people who want to take a look, including young trick-or-treaters who come to her front door on Halloween. The village scene display stays up until the end of January.
But best of all, her grandchildren — ranging from a few months old to 13 — enjoy coming over.
“None of them touch it, they just love to watch it. When the new babies come, they lay on a blanket and they just watch the lights.”
– copyright Red Deer Advocate