Small things make for a Merry Christmas
“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together,” said Vincent Van Gogh, and for an Orange couple who has more than 250 pieces in their Christmas Village collection, this is truly a “great thing.”
In preparation for the Christmas season, Pat and Earl Geis began bringing boxes down from the attic around Halloween with a goal to be completely set up by Thanksgiving. But, before any of the pieces were placed, Earl made the frame. Under the frame is the piano or a couch and a nearby fireplace.
“Why move it? Just cover it up, “ Pat said.
Each building or carnival ride is all wired together in sections and can be turned on by remote control.
One by one they bring the boxes downstairs and strategically place the pieces where they belong. Over the years their collections have grown to include pieces from the Thomas Kincaid Collection, Coca-Cola, Department 56 North Pole Collection, Hommel and various pieces from what they call the “mall houses.” Each set of houses has intricate details and through some of the windows families are seen enjoying the holidays. Pat also carefully decorates each shelf with “trees” and “snow.”
Earl checks each piece to make sure the lights and motors are in good working condition for the many visitors they will have through their home. Sometimes their friends bring their friends too.
“We enjoy it and sharing it with people,” Pat said.
Pat’s favorite piece is in the Kincaid Collection of a blue Victorian style house. The tiny glass windows with the warm glow and the wrap around porch are very inviting and gives a person a feeling of a happy place to be.
They also have a collection Earl refers to as the “Lion’s Club Carnival.” When it is turned on, the rides move and the audio makes a person believe they are really there. Voices are heard as if in a crowd and are saying things such as “It’s my turn” and “I want to ride again.” A few of the rides include a tilt-a-whirl, bumper cars and a ferris wheel.
On each house of the North Pole collection there is a wreath and one by one collectively they spell North Pole.
There is no major increase in the electric bill to illuminate all the various Christmas decorations. Besides, they say it is worth it anyway.
The love of the Christmas Villages has been handed down through the generations. During the early years when Pat and Earl were dating, Pat’s mother had a display of her own.
“In our first house we bought a few sets and set them up,” Pat said.
One of their first sets to purchase was the Hommel Collection. The oldest piece in their collection is a church from the Department 56 collection which was passed down from Pat’s mother.
Earl said are all the sets are complete, unless he finds another piece in a catalogue, online or at a store.
Pat has her own collection of Christmas items to display. She collects Santas and elves. They are in the various nooks and crannies of the house and ready to greet each guest and spread a bit of Christmas cheer.
The Geis’ have passed on their love of Christmas to their oldest son. But, he doesn’t collect villages but prefers antiques. They recently gave him some old ornaments which he carefully placed on a Christmas tree in his house. He has an old aluminum tree which was a favorite years ago.
After the holidays are over, they will enjoy it for a bit longer and begin to take it down on Valentine’s day and pack it away for another Christmas season.
“It takes longer to pack it back up,” Earl said.
In the meantime, family and friends are sure to take the time and enjoy the small things in life.
Pictured: Earl and Pat Geis have a large collection of Christmas decorations which include small houses, buildings and a carnival.