KOLOA — Baby Jesus, Santa, candy canes, directions to the North Pole and wooden reindeer are among the troves of decorations displayed every Christmas for almost three decades outside a home along Maluhia Road.
Since moving back to his childhood residence in 1987, Scott Topp and his wife Billi Smith have set up their home — inside and out — as a marvelous display for onlookers seeking the holiday spirit.
“No matter where I live, we always decorate,” said Topp, who along with Smith is a retired educator. “We love this season. We love the spirit of it.”
Lights and decorations have always been important for Christmas, Smith said.
“Growing up, we got used to that. Over generations, the value you put to Christmas is one thing,” she said. “The value to want to share the Christmas spirit with others is another; however, you want to share it with others.”
Although their children and parents now live on Oahu, Smith and Topp said Christmas is about family.
“I think for us that’s what Christmas is all about: celebrating and having the opportunity to get together,” Smith said. “Christmas is our favorite holiday. When our kids was growing, we did a lot of Christmas things and baking and decorating. It’s just continued, even though our children are grown they’re into it, too.”
Oftentimes, the couple said, passersby would slow down, take pictures and even park and take time to admire the dozens of holiday decorations.
“I remember it as a kid how much I liked decorations,” he said. “It’s for the kids.”
Smith said the Christmas items take up about half of their garage, from the floor to the ceiling. It’s Topp who is in charge of decorating the outside, while Smith works on the inside of their home.
“We have 10 plastic containers of decorations for the house,” she said. “Usually, he goes through them every year, and he’ll choose which ones he wants.”
The couple usually begins decorating after Thanksgiving.
“I keep them up for the 12 days of Christmas, so I take them down around Jan. 6,” Topp said.
This year, there are about 20 separate sets of decorations outside the house. Every year, it’s different.
“Some things are the same, but you have to get new things — like lights because they’re old,” Smith said.
There’s been a couple generations of Christmas displays, Topp said.
What’s lasted the longest are two white-wooden reindeer, which Topp made and have been a holiday fixture since the couple made Koloa their home since the late 80s.
“We always have something that says North Pole, so there’s been different signage for North Pole,” he said. “I used to have a big snowman, penguins and Snoopy on the sleigh.”
Along with the wooden reindeer, a handmade “Joy” sign behind the holy family are prominent to passersby this holiday season.
“Even if people don’t put lights or can’t afford to put lights, there’s always a place where you can find lights,” Smith said. “I think there’s still that fascination of let’s go riding and let’s go look at the lights.”