• Pop-up animated elves

    Animatronic Figures

    It was many years ago, but I can still remember our yearly Christmas journey from Northwest Indiana to downtown Chicago. Our plan was to visit the windows at the Marshall Fields department store; it was a yearly highlight! I was excited to see what amazing things were waiting for us at the ultimate Christmas destination! Inside and out, the store was a child’s fantasy of sights and sounds. Each window was part of a scene in a contiguous story. Elaborate animated characters performed on their own individual stages. There was so much to look at, so much to take in,…

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  • Santa on Labor Day vacation

    The Rumor Mill keeps grinding it out

    Santa gave us Labor Day off with one little caveat. We had to promise to return the next day ready to work around the clock until December 24. Seems the world is in a growth spurt since the population recently crossed the seven billion mark. All I know is that’s a seven with way-too-many zeroes after it. I’m one of the older elves and it doesn’t seem that long ago when Santa was using the million word instead of billion. There’s a lot more of you on the face of the planet but still only us elves at the North…

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  • Mike Babick Christmas display

    Lights Out

    Mike Babick would usually be out tinkering in his garage this time of year, cleaning off the animatronic elves and animals that light up Santa’s Workshop in his annual Christmas display. But this October, he’s refinishing some antiques out back instead. And he doesn’t have any plans to work on his Christmas display. Any plans at all. “It’s really looking like there won’t be Christmas here this year,” he said. “It’s sad. It’s really sad. But that’s the way it’s looking.” Indeed, the way Babick sees it, there just isn’t a viable option for putting up the nationally known display…

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  • Michael and Peal


    Christmas in the Beason house was always a big occasion when I was growing up. My mom, Pearl, loved the holidays. She would sing carols, decorate the house and buy way too many presents for our little home. You had to walk a path between the boxes just to sit on the couch! My mom instilled the love of Christmas in me as a young child in a really big way. After I grew up I started decorating my own home and have been doing so for 28 years. To the average person, I decorate to the extreme. This year…

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  • A really big inflatable Santa Claus


    So you want to make more of an impression with the neighbors, as if 10,000+ lights dancing to music controlled by your computer isn’t enough. Consider adding inflatables to your display. Some of us have played with them, even made them a minor part of our yard but a few of us have embraced these as a centerpiece of what we do during the holiday season. What can you say about a 12 foot Santa? Neat! A 20 foot Frosty? Cool! Your visitors will be thrilled. Inflatables can be used to accent a display or take it over the top.…

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  • Christmas Pony

    The Christmas Pony

    Emily desperately wanted the pony. It was all she wanted, really, ever since her family moved out in the country to the big house where she had her own room and could see all the way up the lane to where the pony was. The neighbors had a big farm with a bright white fence all around and a big red barn. Emily first saw the pony standing by the fence in the neighbor’s yard when they were driving up to the new house with the last load of items from their old apartment in the city. There were many…

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  • Christmas Expo (2013)

    Christmas Expo 2013

    As the new owners of the Christmas Expo, Joyce Perhac with ProShow, Inc. and Janice Blasko from The Abbey Group couldn’t be more excited to express their love of the holiday through this event. They are sisters, who each own their own separate businesses and have collaborated over the past 20 years on projects and events that reflect their passions and are close to their hearts. Joyce is the owner of ProShow, Inc., a meeting and event planning company based in Pittsburgh, PA. She has over 25 years experience in planning events for non-profits, special interest groups and corporate businesses.…

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  • House on Christmas Street cover art

    Music Review

    If you hear some new holiday tunes blasting from Santa’s sleigh as he hits your rooftop this Christmas Eve, you have someone to thank. Christmas with Mrs. Claus is a magical holiday music collaboration between Mrs. Claus and Grammy® Nominated family music artist Judy Pancoast. This is truly a match made at the North Pole. Mrs. Claus steps out from the shadow of the big man in red to choose some of her seasonal favorites, old and new. Although Mrs. Claus is content to leave the vocals to Judy, she pops in and out throughout the CD, introducing songs, sharing…

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  • Barb and Jan getting ready for a Lure of Lights

    A ‘Lure’ of Lights

    Two years ago, downtown Hayward, Wisconsin was anything but exciting during the holiday season. Main Street was lifeless and the merchants were complaining because no one was shopping. You could find a few Christmas decorations but people didn’t seem to care. There just wasn’t much Christmas spirit in Hayward. Local merchants Jan Beatty and Barb Hand sensed a problem. They were walking down Main Street and knew something needed to be done to liven up their community. Their challenge was they had absolutely no idea what to do or where to turn. Then it happened. Someone emailed Barb a video…

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  • Show at Buckingham Palace

    The Rumor Mill is working overtime

    The big man in red gave us a night off. We aimed the satellite dish toward Europe and the TV picked up the grand concert in front of Buckingham Palace celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Wow. The Brits sure know how to have a good time. Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Tom Jones, Paul McCartney and plenty of others were on stage and singing the oldies-but-goodies. We were mesmerized by the lights and pyrotechnics on the stage. Every now and then they would show the front of the palace that had become a giant movie screen. Pretty amazing watching the palace…

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