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Light up Christmas

  • —Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • —Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Melanie and Russell Sloan of Antrim have spent the last 13 years adding to their collection of Christmas decorations. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Melanie and Russell Sloan of Antrim have spent the last 13 years adding to their collection of Christmas decorations. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Melanie and Russell Sloan of Antrim have spent the last 13 years adding to their collection of Christmas decorations. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Melanie and Russell Sloan of Antrim have spent the last 13 years adding to their collection of Christmas decorations. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Melanie and Russell Sloan of Antrim have spent the last 13 years adding to their collection of Christmas decorations. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Melanie and Russell Sloan of Antrim have spent the last 13 years adding to their collection of Christmas decorations. Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • —Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • —Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Melanie and Russell Sloan of Antrim have spent the last 13 years adding to their collection of Christmas decorations. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Melanie and Russell Sloan of Antrim have spent the last 13 years adding to their collection of Christmas decorations. Staff photo by Ashley Saari

  • Melanie and Russell Sloan of Antrim have spent the last 13 years adding to their collection of Christmas decorations. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Melanie and Russell Sloan of Antrim have spent the last 13 years adding to their collection of Christmas decorations. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Melanie and Russell Sloan of Antrim have spent the last 13 years adding to their collection of Christmas decorations. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Melanie and Russell Sloan of Antrim have spent the last 13 years adding to their collection of Christmas decorations. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, December 18, 2017 5:56PM

You can’t miss the Sloan house in December. From down Clinton Road, you can see the bright lights of their vast collection of Christmas decorations which turns their yard into a veritable garden of Santa Clauses and Disney characters, and strings and strings and strings of Christmas lights.

“It’s weeks of work,” said Russell Sloan of Antrim, weaving through his collection. “This is our thing. It’s definitely our holiday tradition.”

“He’s only got about half of it out there, that’s the sad part,” said Melanie Sloan, with a laugh. 

The display is a labor of love for Russell, who learned the lesson of holiday excess at the knee of his aunt, Ruby Hatch. As a teenager, he helped her put up her own winter display. Many of those pieces now reside in his own collection. The glowing blow mold – hollow plastic – nativity set that she cherished still has a place of honor in the center of the display, though it’s joined by at least four more manger scenes that Russell has picked up over the years. It’s not the only duplicate – if you take a full tour of the yard, you’ll spot at least six of the same saluting Santa. 

The Sloans use every bit of space. On their garage, a Santa slam-dunks from their basketball rim. On the walkway between the garage and house hangs an official ticking down countdown to Christmas. 

Their porch, said Melanie was an add-on to the house, and was made specifically to showcase more decorations – no railings so that those decorations set up on the porch can be seen unobstructed. And the top of the roof now houses their two inflatable Santa helicopter pilots in the holiday months. 

Russell built a treehouse in the backyard, even wiring it for electricity, only in part for their children – needing additional electrical outlets and a place to put his smaller decorations up out of the snow being the other part.

The variety is staggering – Santa plays in a band with reindeer, snowmen of all types wave and smile, and Disney favorites like Elsa, Dory and Mickey and Minnie Mouse are all featured. Some were given to Russell as gifts. Others, he scrounged from yard sales, curb pick-ups and after-Christmas sales.

“He almost killed us once,” recalls Melanie teasingly. “We passed a yard sale, and he swung around so fast. I said, ‘What are you doing!’ He said, ‘It’s a blow mold!’”

A new piece this year, a wooden sleigh and reindeer that Russell highlighted with Christmas lights, came from the dump, where someone had set it aside for “Mrs. Claus” to pick it up.

Having the best display on the block comes with its downsides. Even with the scrounging, Russell said he doesn’t want to think about how much he’s spent on decorations in the last decade – to say nothing of the spike in their December light bill. And having inflatable decorations that have motors and the potential to tear in rough weather means that Russell spends a lot of his spare time repairing his collection. 

“Most of my time is spent out here,” said Russell. 

But it’s worth it, said Melanie.

“A woman stopped by the other day to see it, and told me that she’d been in a bad mood, and seeing it had cheered her right up. It’s that kind of thing that makes it worth it,” she said.

 

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.