His thousands of Christmas decorations gained fame in Papillion. Now he’s selling them

His thousands of Christmas decorations gained fame in Papillion. Now he’s selling them
World-Herald News Service

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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