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Sam and Joyce Medley may not be Mr. and Mrs. Claus, but they are the closest things to them this side of the North Pole.
The Medleys, who live in Finchville, love Christmas so much that walking into their home around Christmastime is like walking into Santa’s toy shop or stepping into a magical land, where one first encounters a miniature village decked out for the holidays, with wreaths on every tiny door and candles glowing in its windows, nestled into a snow bank of fluffy white cotton.
In the living room, where the tiny village metropolis is spread over a quarter of the room’s floor, radiating out from the fireplace, a 9-foot tree is a child’s delight, complete with a miniature locomotive chugging around the tree (each room of the Medley’s life-sized home features a huge Christmas tree trimmed with different themes).
Sam Medley, wearing a fluffy white hat with flashing red lights, flipped a switch, stopping the train, the better to watch a stuffed animal sing and dance to the tune, “Mama got Run Over by a Reindeer.”
“This is one of my favorites, because my mother loved this song,” he said.
Joyce Medley, seated on the sofa and wearing huge elf ears, glanced around fondly at her collection of 93 teddy bears wearing Christmas clothing, which dominate one corner of the room.
“I love my bears, but I guess my favorites are these little houses, because I painted most of them by hand,” she said, gesturing toward the village.
Her nutcracker collection fills two wall shelves in the living room as well, a room that features many different kinds of decorations, including some unique ones, such as a flying cow suspended from the ceiling in front of the fireplace.
“Look at him go!” Sam Medley said, winding up the cow, which sported wings and an elf on its back.
Other stationary objects include a depiction of Santa’s workshop and a large assortment of dolls and other figures.
The dining room boasts a white Christmas tree, and the sunroom is adorned with a traditional green tree, as is Joyce Medley’s sewing room. But there, also, is a Christmas tree adorned only with ornaments depicting white poodle dogs – dozens of them.
Sam Medley likes the dog theme, too, and he paused in the hallway to chuckle at a dog hanging on the wall wearing a Santa hat.
“See what happens when you turn him on,” he said, laughing as the dog’s ears began to rotate wildly.
“This is even better,” Joyce Medley said as a 4-foot Santa next to still another towering Christmas tree in the foyer began to sing and wiggle around.
The kitchen is not neglected either, nor is the bathroom, where Frosty the Snowman takes his task of holding the toilet tissue quite seriously.
Each room, taken singly, is a holiday delight to behold, but the entire effect as one walks through the house can only be described as magical.
Even better, the couple doesn’t keep it all to themselves, but they delight in inviting the community into their home to share in their Christmas magic.
“We are having quite a bit of company next week,” Joyce Medley said Friday. “The extension homemakers are coming over one night, and some school children are coming another day, and plus we are having an open house December twelfth for the entire community.”
Maybe last year
Sam explained that the open house, which will be from 5 to 8 p.m. that day, is to allow the entire community to come and enjoy their decorations, an experience that may not come again next year.
“We’re in our 70s, and we don’t know how much longer we’re going to able to do all this,” he said.
“We have to start in October, hauling everything up from the basement, and it takes quite a while and quite a lot of work to get it all together. So we thought that this year, we would invite everyone to come out and see it because we just don’t know about next year.”
The Medleys’ unusual hobby began in 1986, when Sam was asked to decorate a hay bale for someone for Thanksgiving. His work was so appreciated that he was asked to do another one for Christmas.
The rest is history, so they say.