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Family's yuletide decorations a hit in Magnolia

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By Candis Carpenter

 It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. At least that's the case at Rick and Pat Seidl’s home on New Jackson Highway in Magnolia.

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With the glow of thousands of Christmas lights, animated decorations, inflatable holiday characters and a miniature ferris wheel, the only thing missing for the season is Santa himself and snow.

The Seidls began their Christmas collection more than 31 years ago, but it has been in the past decade that they started decorating their front yard elaborately for passersby to enjoy.

“Each year it gets bigger,” said Rick Seidl. “Some of the lighted deer will be 20 (years old) this year ... they’re some of the originals.”

The display is typically up and running right after Thanksgiving, explained Seidl, but this year they were a “little late” due to restringing and replacing broken lights.

“It’s a lot of work,” said Seidl. “I had to work on 90 perccent of the stuff out there.”

However, the most demanding attraction at the home is a miniature Ferris wheel – handmade three years ago by Seidl himself.

Inspired by a tiny Christmas cottage attraction, he began working to build a larger replication of the all American favorite.

Several pieces of PVC pipe, a lot of patience and two months later he succeeded. The result was an eight-foot-tall fully functional masterpiece.

“It was a lot of trial and error,” said Seidl. “I originally built it on the back porch, but when we closed it in it had to go somewhere ... so it went in the front yard.”

The attraction is quite a sight and has drawn several requests from children for a ride.

Although the Seidls enjoy the children’s excitement they have to remind them the replica is for teddy bears only.

“This year I’m going to rebuild it,” said Seidl, noting that some of the mechanics need maintenance. 

Even with the demands of elaborate outdoor decorations, the holiday spirit doesn't stop outside.

All but two rooms in the home are fully outfitted in holiday décor – down to the toilet seats and shower curtains.

Hanging photos are replaced with seasonal prints, kitchen decorations are swapped with Christmas fittings and the back room is converted into a winter wonderland of cottages.

“I usually am decorating the inside while Rick is doing the outside,” said Pat. “But the cottages are all him.”

The cottages, arranged to portray a small town, take about two weeks to be set up.

Setup includes constructing a multi-level foundation, made mostly of boxes, to give the village a three-dimensional look complete with hills, slopes and valleys.

Seidl’s collection contains more than 40 cottages not including figurine trees, people, objects and accessories.

The village features people skiing, skating and shopping and even contains places such as the original Lowe’s and Wal-Mart.

An amusement park, containing with the Ferris wheel that inspired Seidl’s front yard creation, adorns one corner of the approximant 7x8 foot display.

Seidl said he enjoys adding to his collection and usually picks up new items during the after Christmas sales.

“I only have one duplicate in the entire set-up and you can’t even tell it,” said Seidl. “I’ve even had a few people bring me some after seeing my collection.”

With Rick employed at Cumberland Products and Pat at IGA in Hodgenville it’s easy to see where the duo could have a hard time finding time to reach the end of their holiday setup.

“The key is to start early,” said Pat. “I started getting things out right around the end of October.”

“The only thing that stays out year around is a few of my angels,” she added, “so it’s a lot of work.”

One may wonder what makes the Seidls continue to keep the decorations running despite an increase of $100-150 electric bill?

 “Simple,” said Seidl. “I love seeing their faces – especially kids … it amazes them.”

“If we had room we’d have more,” added Pat, “but I don’t think we will ever stop collecting.”

If you are interested in seeing the front yard displays, the Seidls welcome people to pull in the driveway of their home at 9900 New Jackson Highway, “just as long as you don’t drive through the yard.”

The displays are typically always on, except for the inflatables which are taken down only during high winds.