Regina’s Gabriel Fahlman has been lighting up the season with his Christmas display for more than four decades, but this year a ‘Grinchy’ thief put a damper on the tradition.
“My wife and I have been on this for the last 40 some years, ever since ’72 we’ve been living here,” he said. “It’s been getting better every year.”
After his wife died this year, he says he was hard pressed to take on her job of decorating the inside of the house for the holiday.
Fahlman says it’s important to keep up the Christmas spirit, that’s why he was quite upset when he noticed something missing from the display on Sunday morning. A miniature Eiffel tower light decoration that was the centrepiece for the whole display was gone.
“I was a little down, let me tell you that. I thought this is not a good time for this,” Fahlman commented.
He says he thinks the intent of stealing a lawn ornament was probably just to cause mischief.
When Fahlman told his grand-daughter Rachelle Galenzoski, she took to Facebook to vent her frustration about the cruelty of someone who would steal Christmas decorations. She has many fond memories of her grandparents’ Christmas lights from when she very young.
The family may have been surprised by the thoughtlessness of a thief, but they were caught completely off guard by the kindness of strangers.
Galenzoski’s post was shared more than 2,500 times and the story sparked an outpouring of support. A group of Regina ladies dropped off a hand-made Christmas wreath for Fahlman, and another group in Alberta is shipping him a new Eiffel tower light stand.
“If I could certainly wish them all a great big Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, I’ll be happy to do that, and I thank them from the bottom of my heart. It’s totally overwhelming and quite unexpected,” Fahlman said.
Fahlman is not the only Regina resident to be hit by Christmas thieves this year. Agnes, who asked to use only her first name, had her cement angel stolen from her yard in the city’s north end this weekend as well.
She noticed footprints in the freshly fallen snow going around her nativity scene. Whoever was in her yard left the nativity scene alone, but took a 3 ½ foot stone angel from her front step.
“I was really quite upset (thinking) how somebody could do something like that,” she said.
Agnes doesn’t expect to see that angel again, and she’s not sure what kind of person would do such a thing.
“I feel bad that they have to stoop that low, because Christmas is about giving and receiving, not stealing.”
She says the angel always brightened her day when she came home, but hopes perhaps it will help whoever took it.