For one local Red Deer woman, Christmas is the most joyous time of the year. Because of that she decorates her home top to bottom in holiday decor.
Linda Saretzky and her husband Lawrence Saretzky’s home is transformed over the holiday season.
One of the most stunning highlights includes a wall in her living room – filled floor to ceiling, standing about nine feet tall, with 94 pieces from Lemax Division 56 or Division 96 with a few from Costco as well. The display sits on six shelves that Lawrence has built. The shelves are covered in cotton baton to resemble snow. The display is mesmerizing as various pieces move, light up and make noise. In addition to the buildings, there are 150 little trees adorning the display as well as many deer and people throughout as well – making it truly feel like a Christmas village.
Linda said the layout of the display changes from year to year. “There is a lot to it. You have to remember all the extension cords and how things can plug in,” she said with a laugh.
Years ago, Linda even blew a breaker and had to get an electrician in to fix it after she plugged in the display’s very last outlet.
The display is filled with pieces that she has collected over the years. Linda originally started with five or six pieces – a train and a few small houses.
“I started it just to have a Christmas scene and of course once you start collecting something, everyone buys you another piece. All the kids and grandkids have bought me pieces. I started with something small and I love Christmas so much that we just keep adding.”
The pieces range in age and start from about 1989. Some of them tell quite the story. One particular train was salvaged from the floods in High River in 2013. “My cousin lived there and her husband wanted to throw it out and my cousin said to give it to us and Lawrence would get it going. We brought it home, cleaned it all up and it does work.”
A lot of time and effort goes into making the Christmas village perfect each year. Linda begins to set up her intricate display in October. “We started doing it when we moved here before Halloween and all of the kids would come to the door and charge in and sit on the floor and take off their Halloween costumes and that was the end of trick or treating.”
Linda’s love for Christmas stems from her childhood.
“My mom was a florist and of course at Christmastime we spent all the time doing floral arrangements and doing different things. We worked so hard at doing flowers for everyone, that we didn’t really have time to decorate ourselves,” she said. “Once I got older I started doing her tree and her windows, and my love grew from there.
“I love being around family at Christmas. I have 11 grandkids – one was born this past February, all the way up to 18 – and they have all come. They just sit there and just watch it.”
Linda added she sets aside anywhere from a week or two to completely decorate her home.
Above the kitchen cupboards are a variety of angels, there is a large and beautifully decorated tree on the main floor and downstairs there is another decorated tree and a variety of snowmen.
Linda and Lawrence’s very first Christmas tree also gets set up and decorated on the deck outside in their backyard.
There are still pieces in the Lemax collection that Linda does not have, and although she doesn’t have anymore room to grow, some of the pieces are older and Linda plans to replace them in the display.
“I’m going to keep adding. I’ll take some out that are breaking and that aren’t working properly. I like the ones that move, so the ones that don’t move will get replaced for the ones that do move.”