A miniature ChristmasToday, the Stoltz’s Christmas village takes up a large portion of the living room in their rural New Richmond home.
By: By Jeff Holmquist, New Richmond News
It all started innocently enough in 1991.
For Christmas that year, Dave Stoltz bought his wife, Kathy, five small lighted buildings from the “Dickens Village” collection.
“It all fit on a buffet in our dining room,” said Kathy. “But it’s all kind of mushroomed from there.”
Indeed it has.
Today, the Stoltz’s Christmas village takes up a large portion of the living room in their rural New Richmond home.
“It’s really fun around Christmas time,” Kathy said.
“It’s really neat in here at night,” Dave chimed in. “You can sit in the chair or on the couch and you can almost imagine yourself being in the village or on the hills.”
The display — with its 118 miniature buildings, two functioning skating rinks, ski run, toboggan run and waterfall mountain — is exhibited on two levels and completely fills one wall. Hundreds of small figurines also are part of the miniature village, as well as artificial snow, trees and other accessories.
“I wanted to limit it to one wall,” Kathy said, “but now it stretches out along the other wall too.”
The original village purchase got family members and friends to thinking. Since the beginning almost 20 years ago, the Stoltz’s eight children and 13 grandchildren have gotten into the act, giving new buildings and figurines to Kathy for birthday and Christmas gifts.
A few years back on her birthday, Dave gave his wife her first “North Pole” themed collection piece. That section of the display has grown a lot in recent years.
“Everybody just thinks we’re nuts,” Kathy admitted. “They say we’re way over the top. We just laugh about it.”
The village isn’t growing much these days, as Kathy has finally adopted a moratorium on people buying pieces as gifts now.
“Finally I said, ‘Enough is enough,’” she said with a laugh.
Because the display is so extensive, Dave and Kathy no longer take it down at the end of the Christmas season. They leave it up all year round, placing a plastic covering over the display during the off season.
“If someone stops by that has never seen it, we take off the cover so they can see,” Kathy said.
Dave said it would be too much work to take it down now anyway. Each building has at least one, maybe two, cords that help to light up the village.
“It’s really kind of an electrician’s nightmare,” Kathy said.
“We don’t leave the lights on long,” Dave added. “We don’t want to burn the house down.”
The Stoltz’s grandchildren are among the biggest fans of the massive village. They always enjoy looking at the tiny buildings and figures.
“The little ones, at first, wanted to always pick stuff up,” Kathy said. “But now they know this is grandma’s doll house. They know they can only look and they’re pretty well behaved now.”
The household’s Christmas decorations don’t end at the living room either.
Out on the lawn the Stoltzs have large blow-up figures, a nativity scene and other lighted items. In the family room, their 12-foot artificial Christmas tree touches the ceiling and every branch, it seems, features an ornament collected over the years.
“It takes us about three or four days to put the whole thing up,” Kathy reported. “There’s really no rhyme or reason to it. It’s ornaments that the kids have made or that someone has given to us.”
Santas and other decorations fill the fireplace mantle, as well as every available space in the dining room.
“It gets kind of nuts,” Kathy said. “But we have a lot of fun.”