Refugio man builds Christmas village (video)

Keldy  Ortiz

Dec. 21, 2012 at 6:21 a.m.
Updated Dec. 22, 2012 at 6:22 a.m.

REFUGIO - On Fannin Street, Dale Tucker takes Christmas decorating seriously.

Outside the Tucker home are ornaments hanging along a white picket fence while reindeers and a Santa Claus sit on the lawn. The house is decorated in Christmas spirit, but the real creation is next door inside a makeshift tool shed.

Open the door to the tool shed and you will see nothing but dozens of miniature lit up villages.

As you walk into the shed, on the right is a life-like image of the outside of the Tucker home.

And that's just one part of the shed. In the other part is a fully operating train set, a Christmas tree and Santa Claus.

"All of them are my favorite," said Tucker, 47. "When I'd go shopping (for Christmas ornaments), I would buy some stuff."

Since Tucker's childhood days, his collection of Christmas villages have expanded beyond his bedroom and into a building.

"We'd never thought it would get like this," said his mother JoAnn Tucker, who recently saw the shed and thought, "My goodness, it looks like a garden."

It's a village that Tucker takes pride in saying is his, as members of the community will be able to look at the collection during the holidays.

"I'm happy about the open house," said Tucker, who works as a janitor. "I hope the whole town comes over."

His mother takes pride in saying she influenced her son's collection of villages, some of which reflect the town of Refugio. Pasted on one of the homes is Hendley-Moreno Car wash, which was Tucker's first job, he said.

"We always had our house lit up," his mother said. "My mind just snowballs when I think about what lights to put up."

While his mother was putting up decorations outside and in the home, Tucker would decorate his room little by little.

Most of his houses, Tucker said, have come from stores such as Hobby Lobby, Lowe's and area mom and pop shops.

His mother said people have even donated villages that they wanted to throw out.

When the collection spilled out of the house in 2001, instead of throwing the collectibles away, Tucker put them in the shed. He even has security on the building, as some of the items are worth nearly $100.

"It just meets his love to collect houses," said his cousin Leanna Wilson. "It gives him something to look forward to in the year."

Tucker said he only turns on the lights during the holidays so he doesn't waste electricity. During December, he said, the electric bill runs as high as $200.

While the holidays are days away from being over and he will close the shed for another year, that doesn't mean he will stop adding more items for next year.

He's thinking about adding an extension to the shed.

"My cousin and I want to keep building," Tucker said.



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