Lacombe residents deck the halls during season

Gayle and Cliff Benedictson decorate home as annual Christmas tradition

SANTA’S WORKERS - Gayle Benedictson disguises herself as one of the elves in her guest bedroom.

SANTA’S WORKERS - Gayle Benedictson disguises herself as one of the elves in her guest bedroom.

Visitors are never prepared for what the phrase “the house is decorated for Christmas” means in the Benedictson house.

Gayle and Cliff Benedictson have been lavishly decorating their home, every room of it, for the last 29 years.

Gayle, who does the majority of the decorating inside the home, said her love of Christmas and entertaining led to her “decking the halls” so completely every year.

“I love opening the door and people walk in and they just go, ‘Wow’,” said Gayle.

Throughout the home, there are literally thousands of Christmas decorations covering every room top to bottom. Each room in the Benedictson home is decked out in a different Christmassy theme.

Upon entering the home, one stands in the living room which is full of snowmen. Downstairs in the den is the Santa Claus room. The guestroom is decorated with dozens of elves, the dining room has nativity scenes and the kitchen has a few gingerbread men and other miscellaneous decorations.

Even the bathrooms are decorated, the basement bathroom is the nutcracker room and in the upstairs bathroom the shower curtain depicts a foamy Santa having a shower.

One of Gayle’s favourite areas of the house is the corner containing her collection of figurines depicting Santa Claus with the Christ child.

She said she likes these pieces because, while they are not unheard of, they are not very common decorations to see either.

In each room of the house there is also at least one Christmas tree and one nativity scene. There are few available surfaces that are not covered in some kind of decoration.

Gayle said that even the light switch panels and tissue boxes are gift wrapped and the toilet seats are changed out for holiday ones for the Christmas season.

Every year Gayle starts decorating in November to have the house completely transformed by the beginning of December. This year she started on Nov. 17 and was finshed by Nov. 28.

It takes Gayle 80 hours to decorate the whole house. She usually begins with the living room and gets the high decorations she needs the ladder for out of the way first.

For the most part, Gayle decorates her house the same way every Christmas. She said that she might move a few decorations around, but the themes of each room remain the same as do the bulk of the displays.

She added that she began mentally placing decorations the first time she saw the new home in 2000 so she has had the image of how the decorations look in her head for a very long time.

Cliff is responsible for the outdoor decorating and for getting the tree each year.

He cuts down the tree himself from a friend’s property, usually when he goes hunting. The high ceiling in the living room warrants a 12-ft. tree, which is what the Benedictsons shoot for every year.

While the home is not open to all for tours, it is not unusual for the Benedictsons to have 100 people come through their home during the Christmas season.

Gayle said most of their visitors are family, friends and friends of friends. She added that during this time of year, there is seldom a night when she and Cliff are home alone.

Guests are shown through the home by Gayle and after seeing all the marvelous Christmas-themed rooms, they are invited to sign the guestbook and take home a small Christmas ornament made by Gayle herself.

Gayle does her cleaning while she takes down the Christmas displays, which doesn’t start until Jan. 7. As she cleans and packs away decorations, Gayle also disposes of a few decorations that aren’t being used each year.

The year 1984 was the first Gayle began decorating her home so extensively, but she said the bulk of the decorating spiked when she and Cliff moved to Lacombe. Nowadays, her decorating and collecting has kind of reached a plateau, but she still keeps an eye open for “Cute and unique” pieces to add to the display.

news@lacombeexpress.com

 

Just Posted

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported five additional deaths Wednesday due to COVID-19. (File photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer at 169 active cases of COVID-19

Province set to move into Stage 2 of reopening Thursday

t
How to tell if a call from ‘CRA’ is legitimate or a scam

Expert says it’s important to verify you really are dealing with the CRA before you give out any info

Grade 12 students at Wetaskiwin Composite High School took place in the annual water fight off school property on June 11, 2021. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
Graduating students in Wetaskiwin throw water fight after being told it could result in suspension

Students were told their participation could result in them being barred from graduation ceremonies.

The arrest south of Winnipeg occurred before Bernier was to arrive at a protest in the city. (Twitter/Maxime Bernier)
Maxime Bernier arrested following anti-rules rallies in Manitoba: RCMP

He’s been charged with exceeding public gathering limits and violating Manitoba’s requirement to self-isolate

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives for the G7 Summit, at the airport in Newquay, United Kingdom, Thursday, June 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Details on Canada’s vaccine sharing plan coming Sunday, up to 100 million doses

Canada’s high commissioner to the UK says details will come after the G7 summit

Conservative MP Tom Kmiec waves to the crowd during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 8, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Newborn daughter’s death inspires MP’s bill on bereavement leave for parents

Conservative MP Tom Kmiec says a day or two off not enough for some grieving parents

Victoria’s 2020 Canada Day celebration will not happen this year. (Black Press Media file photo)
Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations backs cancelling Canada Day celebration

Statement made after Victoria cancels Canada Day event as a statement of reconciliation

United Nurses of Alberta is slamming Health Minister Tyler Shandro for suggesting staff vacations are causing emergency room problems. (Black Press Media files)
Physicians were suffering burnout and then the pandemic made it worse, UBC study finds

Burnout prevalent among 68 per cent of doctors – likely a reflection of issue globally, says researcher

Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020 in Ottawa. The federal government is bringing in a new coal policy saying new or expanded thermal coal mines create unacceptable environmental impacts.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Unacceptable environmental effects:’ New federal policy restricts thermal coal

Policy puts another roadblock in front of Coalspur Mines and its Alberta Vista mine expansion

Kawasaki City Institute for Public Health Director General Nobuhiko Okabe speaks during a press conference after a roundtable on COVID-19 countermeasures at Tokyo 2020 Games in Tokyo, Friday, June 11, 2021. A group of experts participated in a third roundtable on COVID-19 countermeasures proposed for audience-related infection control. (Franck Robichon/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics still undecided on fans — or no fans at all

Fans from abroad already banned from what is shaping up to be a largely made-for-television event

Most Read