Roxanne Deer takes holiday cheer to the next level with her extensive and intricate recreations of winter landscapes in her home complete with train. (Lachlan Madill, The Eastern Door)
“I love Christmas, it’s my favourite time of the year. I love all the colours and the ambiance of it all. It just makes me all warm and fuzzy,” said Roxanne Deer, describing her growing holiday tradition.
In the corner of her home a miniature village on a snow-covered mountain twinkles with lights and music while a train passes through the town.
“I started this when we moved into this house about six years ago. My mother always had a little village, it wasn’t as big as this but it was really nice, and I always liked looking at it so I started my own,” said Deer.
The village first began on the windowsill and kept growing as she added more pieces to it.
“Every year my husband (Lionel) gets me one for Christmas. So the train and the train station are the newest ones that he got me last year and I had to start putting tables next to the window to make more space,” she said.
This year for the train her husband built her a table for her ever-expanding village. The three-layer table comes apart and has a space in it for a train tunnel, which the town is centered around. It’s a picturesque snow covered mountain scene, with people skating, going on sleigh rides, and decorating trees.
Deer puts a lot of time and work into building the village.
“It takes days because my kids want to help and they want to put the people in and they want to put everything in the spots that they want. But I’m kind of meticulous and I need to put them in certain spots, so when they’re not looking I change them around,” Deer said.
The hardest part was building the first layer for the train because it kept falling off its track. Just trying to cover it with snow and keeping it level took her about a day to complete.
“Altogether it took about three days, not in a row. I do a little bit at a time every day. I don’t sit here all day and do it because I would be here for days, I guess.”
Part of the fun for Deer is getting creative with how it will look in the end.
“It’s always different every year. I start with the town square, or circle or oval or whatever it is and I just work my way around wherever anything fits. Because I get a new piece every year, I need to incorporate that and make space.”
Deer said her four kids love the display, “especially when the music is on, they all have sounds. Pretty much all of them have a different sound so I have to keep it off otherwise it’s just a big jumble of noise.
With all the lights and sounds coming from the Christmas village, it also attracts the family cats.
“The kitten, she’s new so she’s been going underneath the tunnel and coming in trying to climb on it and chase the little things. So she keeps wrecking it every night and every morning I get up and there’s a piece moved. My bigger cat likes to sleep on it. So with the kids and the cats I’m constantly fixing it all the time,” she said.
Deer doesn’t have any plans to stop expanding her display and is hoping to grow the village into a town and maybe even bigger. But for that she’ll need some more space for next year.
“I kind of hinted to my husband that he should make another table and we could put it on the other side so it would match or an extension of it. We’ll see if he does it.”
With rising printing costs, overhead and inflation, community newspapers like The Eastern Door are finding it increasingly more difficult to keep afloat. But here’s a way you can help:
Please consider a financial contribution to help us keep doing what we do best; telling the stories of our people in a contemporary medium – a solid archive of our cherished history. Your kind donation will go towards a paper that stands as equal parts historical record, in-depth, informative and award-winning news, colourful stories, as well as a big boost to the local economy by employing 95 percent local workers. Also, please consider subscribing to our e-edition, which comes out Thursday night, at www.easterndoor.com today, or pick up your copy Friday morning in Kahnawake, Kanesatake, Akwesasne or Chateauguay.
We exercise real freedom of the press every single day. Without our reporters fighting for the truth our community would be missing something. E-transfers are accepted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.