Live your Christmas Style Bigger Than Life!
Well, that is what we all want to believe at this magical time of year, when sugarplum fairies and all sorts of confectioneries dance through our minds and take over our decorating tastes. For me, I’m still unpacking boxes from moving into my new place. But on a beautiful winter’s eve, I decide to take a much deserved break and enjoy what my new neighbourhood has to offer, especially at this time of year.
For the past few weeks, I’ve seen Brampton City Parks & Recreation trucks and cherry pickers trimming the trees along Main and Queen Streets in Downtown Brampton and, as my Christmas boxes sit in a dry corner of my balcony awaiting my attention, I’ve been mentally preparing for my first Christmas in my new home while watching everyone around me decorate theirs. The evening I decide to take my walk, over 180,000 other people are on the streets.
As a new resident of Downtown Brampton, it was appropriate that my arrival coincided with the Santa Claus Parade. I took great pleasure, not just to sit and watch the Parade, but to walk the entire route and enjoy all the people who were there to celebrate St. Nick’s first night back in Brampton. During this walk, an infantry of toy soldiers stopped me in my tracks and a jolly home owner with a boyish grin left his guests and encouraged my enthusiasm by sharing his story.
His home has stolen my heart, as larger than life fibreglass toy soldiers stand watch over his front doorway while passersby such as myself stop and admire them as they take their place for the official start of the season, the Brampton Board of Trade (BBOT) Santa Claus Parade. Winning the best decked home on the parade route for the second year in a row, the award should be renamed “The Biggest Kid on the Route” because, meeting Michael Baci, you know it is his inner child that fuels his décor tastes.
“I found the two fibreglass toy soldiers while travelling through Michigan state,” his tale begins. As awkward carry-on luggage, they found their way home and enjoyed their first Christmas standing watch, greeting every arrival and departure. “But it wasn’t enough,” Michael shares. In discussions with family and a designer/artist friend, he was encouraged to deploy platoons of soldiers down his walkways and to guard his garden gate.
As original toy soldiers and nutcrackers were handcrafted by German woodworkers from boxwood in the early 1800s, it was only appropriate for Michael to create five, four and three-foot versions from exterior grade plywood using a jigsaw. Using his Michigan ex-pats as inspiration, along with an artist’s attention to detail, he began to carve and craft his battalion of wooden toy soldiers. He now deploys his platoon of 20+ guardsman each Christmas to coincide with Santa’s arrival via the BBOT’s Santa Claus Parade.
Nothing is more distinctively Christmas or evokes more fun and fantasy than larger than life festive figures made legendary in seasonal folklore. As you stroll through Downtown Brampton and enjoy the winter wonderlands of The Rose Garden Square, City Hall and Gage Park, make sure to stand at attention at the gates of the pretty yellow house and salute Michael and his Toy Soldiers. It’s now tradition.
What are your bright cheery traditions?
We at Enrich Magazine would love to see how you decorate for the holidays! Share your tales at editorial@EnrichMagazine.ca