While extravagant Christmas-light displays dominant the roadways and draw for motorists from across the region (Tuxedo Drive, anyone?), the Island’s largest scale exhibition isn’t on the front lawn, but behind the front door.
Don Moore has dedicated the ground level of his Century Road house to Christmas since 1984, about 450 square feet of holiday detail. The only equal to the ornate detail and electric range of ornaments might be Miniatureland.
Alas, this is the final showing of “Christmasland,” as he calls it, at least for a few years, Moore said.
“I started introducing extra Christmas lights following the birth our second son 30 years ago. He was visually impaired and responded to the tree and lights, so I kept adding more and more. But it’s a lot of work, and I think it’s time to put it away, maybe just until I get grandkids.”
A retired Canada Post employee, Moore starts the Christmasland process in September, carefully layering the rooms with wrapping paper, cotton snow, lights. Then come the hundreds of figurines, animated and inanimate.
“The setup is a daily job.”
At his kids’ request, Moore opened the door to the public eight years ago. Since then Christmas has raised more than $5,000 for local charities. This year the money is supports the Mustard Seed Food Bank and Times Colonist Christmas Fund.
A sign out front posts the welcome times to visitors, but the Moores (Don and Sharon) will make special arrangements for seniors groups or visitors who can’t make the allotted times.
“We do have a few steps to get into the room, I always help with that, but seniors get a big kick out of the different characters.”
For kids, it’s a virtual dreamland of glowing red, green and yellow, with a thousand figurines moving about. And for adults, the display scenes reveal one theme after another.
Claymation Rudolph, for instance, celebrates his 50th anniversary with a series of figurines from the movie. And yes, Ralphy is at home here too, his air rifle slung proudly over the fireplace. There’s even a snowbound stage where Han Solo and Darth Vader recreate their eternal struggle for Galactic control on planet Hoth, while one shelf over the Beatles and John Denver lead a dozen more rock and roll legends.
“Most of it I buy, and I shop around a lot, not online. I try to keep it local,” Moore says, as he switches on a three-foot-tall singing lamp post bellowing Deck the Halls.
Across the room, a hip-swiveling Santa dances in response.
Among it all – and there is much, much more, such as a talking deer and a snowy homage to some of baseball’s greats (Moore has coached at National Little League for 37 years) – is an attention to minute detail that goes unparalled.
Christmasland is at 4000 Century Rd. and is open to visitors Saturday (Dec. 13) from 1 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m., and Sunday Dec. 14 from and 1 to 4 p.m., and then next weekend, Saturday and Sunday (Dec. 20 and 21) from 1 to 4 and 6 to 9 p.m.
Seniors groups or others can call ahead to request a special viewing at 250-477-8190. Entrance is by donation, cash or non-perishable food items are accepted.