There’s Santas and snowmen and Snoopys.
Plus penguins and camels and bears.
A warehouse of Christmas decorations was up for sale Friday and Saturday at 12005 Centennial Road in La Vista. Prices will range from $5 to a few pieces that are worth $400.
“The end of a chapter, kind of,” said Kyle Richards, the owner of the decorations. “It’s a bittersweet deal.”
The 48-year-old has been decorating for Christmas for almost 40 years; he started helping his grandparents adorn their house in Salina, Kansas, and later assisted his dad.
He gained a bit of decorating fame in 2003 when he and wife Lisa’s house in the Tara Hills subdivision of Papillion was featured on NBC’s “Today.”
Seven years ago, the couple moved to Gretna. Richards no longer had the 400 amps of electricity needed to light decorations that attracted carloads of fans to his house, his mom’s home and the two empty lots between them.
The family’s four girls, now ages 9, 12, 14 and 21, needed more attention. Instead of spending every free second in the two months before Christmas on decorating, his days were filled with his work at a construction job and giving rides to dance classes and volleyball games.
“It got a little bit easier not to do it,” he said.
After gathering everything together from eight storage units, Richards estimates he had around 4,000 pieces.
Maybe he was a bit of a Christmas decoration hoarder, Richards said. He never would buy just one blow mold. He’d buy three of each so he’d have backups. Believe it or not, foraging rabbits and some vandalism were a yearly ordeal.
He’s keeping a few sentimental pieces, some that date to his grandparents’ big display. There’s elves and mice, a rare Santa and a Winnie the Pooh from the 1978 Sears catalog. He’s hoping some day his girls will want to decorate with them.
After seven years of not decorating, he’s ready to part with the rest.
Nearly 1,200 blow molds went first. After Richards advertised on Blow Mold Nation’s Facebook page, vehicles and trailers arrived from Denver, St. Louis, Chicago, Wisconsin and as far as the Arkansas-Tennessee border.
Richards said he felt a pang when the four-foot choir boys and girls from the 1950s were loaded and carted away.
“There were some pieces, kind of older stuff, that I have memories of getting them. Those have been the toughest to part with,” Richards said. “I just enjoyed decorating a lot.”
When you drive past the Richards house these days, you’ll maybe catch a glimpse of the trees his wife decorates or the one Santa outside. There are no lights.
He’s an all-or-nothing guy, Richards said, so a smaller effort has no allure.
He still loves looking at lights and decorations, though, so he hopes to spot some of his items in big displays around town.
“My biggest thing I’m hoping is they will go to people who will enjoy it and decorate and collect these things,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll be giving it to people who will carry on a tradition.”
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This snow house was a neighborhood project in the yard of Gerald A. Lawver Sr. at 4124 R Street. Left to right are: Michael Rok, 9; Jimmy Krzemein, 9; Gerald Lawver Jr; and Clare Ann Buscher, 6. Taken Jan. 28, 1956.
David Prost, 13 and his sister Susan, 10 sculpted a 15-foot-high tribute to the space age at 9306 Blondo, on March 9, 1959.
Dinner party in snowhouse, dessert off the ceiling. Four adventerous couples ate steak in a snowhouse they carved in the middle of a giant drift on Feb. 18, 1960. They refused to give their names as they dined on charcoal broiled steak, salad, and several vegetables. Mulled wine and a lantern provided warmth. Dessert was blueberry sauce poured over snow squares cut from the ceiling. The "dining room" was dug out of a snowdrift along Highway 36 about a mile east of Bennington.
A stunning snowlady in formal dress engages the attention of Jerry Jancik, 316 S. 68th St., on Jan. 6, 1960. The sculptor was Jerry's sister Judy, 16, assisted by her friend Joyce Anderson.
John Dalton, 11 and his sister Mary, 12 made snow sculptures of Mr. & Mrs. Abraham Lincoln to celebrate Lincoln's birthday on Feb. 11, 1961 at their home at 2615. S. 32nd Ave.
Michelle Hess, whose hobby is sketching horses and collecting horse figurines sculpted these snow ponies in her West Point back yard on Jan. 23, 1964.
Jeff Mittermeier thanks sister Lolly for making a valentine box out of snow in their yard at 191 S. 17th St. in 1965.
Laura and Daryl Penning used this abandoned tub in their back yard to form one wall of a snow fort on Dec. 9, 1971. No enemy snowballs penetrated the wall. Laura, 5, peeks from the tub as Daryl, 6, left, and Danny Sullivan, 6, prepare to fire.
The Richard Kofoed family had a 12 foot armless guest on their lawn at 8205 Bowie Drive on Dec. 29, 1974. Mike Kofoed had to stand on a ladder to add the finishing touches. Other sculptors are: Aline Gamanche, left, Bart Kofoed, Jim Jackson, Rick Gamache and Rich Smith.
Marsha Mulligan of 10325 Wright St. sits atop her 8-foot elephant built during a weekend of melting snow with the help of friends Joe and David Podrazo and Rich Michelson. A sombrero will add a touch of the absurd. Photo taken Dec. 30, 1974.
Holly Rothschild and Lisa Stastney, both 12, tunnel through the snow after the January 1975 blizzard. The girls lived near 116th & Dodge.
A snow Snoopy and Woodstock on top of the doghouse at the Thomas Marshall home at 2229 S. 138th Street. Taken Jan. 8, 1975.
Dickie and Tami Surber of 324 N. 41st St., put together their very own Puff the Magic Dragon on Jan. 23, 1976. They may have had a little help from their mother, Joan Sturber.
Randy Keeler, 15, of 10204 O St. stands on a ladder to attach the ear of a giant snow rabbit he and his friends built on March 21, 1977. The snow sculpture took three hours to create.
Two of the coolest cowgirls in the west are Deana Biocourt, 2 and her sister Michelle, 3. They're riding the trail in front of their house at 6611 S. 48th St. on March 8, 1978. Looks like they're in for some company. Out ahead of them is a happy looking snow hombre. On down the trail a piece is a good ol' snow bear.
Chuckie and Robert Dellutri were counting their blessings a little early on Nov. 18, 1978. Chuckie, 10, on the left and Robbie, 12, were thankful the snow didn't melt before they had a chance to build what they're counting on eating later that week — turkey. The boys even used brown food coloring and feathers to make the sculpture more realistic. But the boys thoughts weren't just on food. They also created a 7 foot snowman and colored him - you guessed it - Big Red.
These seven Omaha snow sculptors used the remnants of a March 1980 blizzard to create a giant frog. Seated is Lisa Flaitz, 9, while in the rear, from left, are Billy Flaitz, 5, Chad Allison, 4, Shelly Flaitz, 11, and the frog's creator Dave McLoed, a self-employed artist, holding his children Alex, 2 and Briana, 4. The figure originally was a bear, but melted down and was remade into a frog.
A baseball hard hat tops a snowman in Hanscom Park on Dec. 1, 1983. Neil Corcoran, 13 admires his handiwork.