Cederholm family shares Christmas collection with community
A collection of holiday figurines and villages will be on display at the Lumberyard Art Center during the holiday season for the second year in a row.
Art and Darlene Cederholm have been collecting holiday figures and sets since the mid-1990s. Most of the sets are from the 1890-1910 time frame. The scenes are set with insulation and cotton to imitate snow, roads going through the houses and the houses and figures are placed to resemble real villages. The couple also concentrates on adding realism to the villages with trees and shrubs. “When I get it all set up and the structures out there it looks fine, but it looks kind of plain,” Art said. “That’s about the point where I start doing all the trees, and when I get all the trees and shrubs out there. To me, that’s when it starts to look almost done.”
The collection usually takes multiple days to set up, with this year’s collection taking more than 40 hours of work.
The couple asked to show off their collection at the art center last year after their son encouraged them to display the figures somewhere other than the basement of their home.
“He would ask ‘why do you do this when no one sees it?’ “ Art said.
The vast holiday collection didn’t start off as a big project. After buying some larger sets they found for sale, the Cederholms began searching for more collectibles to add to their already large group.
“We just had one or two pieces to start with, and we’d put it up under the tree,” Art said. “Now we find ourselves (visiting) hobby shops or stores where we think we might find stuff, and even sometimes if we’re just out and happen to stop at a garage sale. That kind of stuff is the first thing we look for. It has just become what we like to do.”
The sets grew from fitting under the Christmas tree to covering nine tables.
The Cederholms moved to Baldwin City in 2005, and Art said before the move, there was no space to put up the collection. Now, they’re grateful for the large basement with a storage room covered in shelves to put the collection when the holiday season is over.
“I have all the original boxes and all the original packing they came in, so I put them all back exactly as they were,” Art said. “We pack them up and put them back on the shelves. I used to take it out so it would be set up before Thanksgiving but now I kind of follow whatever schedule Diane (has for the art center).”
Last year, there was only room for six tables for Cederholms to display the sets, but this year they were given the gallery to work with.
“This year our gallery director reserved the gallery so they could spread it out and share the entire village,” Diane Neihoff, Lumberyard Art Center Committee president, said.
Although the Cederholms enjoy finding new pieces to add to the collection, the real happiness comes from sharing it with others.
“I especially enjoy it now that we have it somewhere people can see it,” Art said. “I’m kind of glad for my son’s prodding that we pursued the art center, because it has really brought a lot of enjoyment to my wife and I.”
The Cederholms will be at the Lumberyard Art Center from 6-8 p.m. the next few Fridays for the community to view the collection.