Rick Kronbauer literally had his Christmas spirit yanked from his front yard.
Kronbauer, 40, is a Vernon man regularly into his Christmas and Halloween displays at his home in the 1900 block of 46th Avenue near Hunter’s Store, much to the delight of the surrounding neighbourhood.
He has four Christmas blow-ups that he displays. Four trees in his yard blink from the lights strung around them. Every window in his home, the front door and the house frame are illuminated with lights.
The front yard shrubbery is covered now with flashing lights because Kronbauer didn’t think he had enough flashing lights in his display, which he started putting up Grey Cup weekend.
The display earns him a spot yearly on the Christmas Lights tour with the tour bus routinely pulling up in front of the home so patrons can get a great look.
Kronbauer has put up Christmas displays since he bought his first home 16 years ago, and, with the exception of a four-year period due to personal reasons, he puts up the displays and adds something new every year.
Returning home from work Tuesday afternoon, Kronbauer noticed one of his display candles in the middle of the yard was missing.
“My first thought was ‘Where did the wind blow it?’” said Kronbauer. “Then I looked closer at the whole display and I noticed that my lights were strung throughout the yard where they had been pulled, some were dislocated. Now I’m thinking, ‘What’s missing?’”
What was missing was one candle, two lights that covered some of the shrubbery and three strings of flashing lights. All stolen in broad daylight.
“They were there in the morning when I left for work, gone when I got home,” said Kronbauer.
The theft so upset Kronbauer he contemplated tearing the entire display down.
Word of the theft spread throughout the block.
“Our whole neighbourhood is not the same,” said Jan Gagné, who lives across the street from Kronbauer and his wife, Mariel. “It is so sad and you can just feel that the Christmas spirit is gone from their home.”
Ah yes, that Christmas spirit. Enter Mariel, whose words of wisdom got through to her husband.
“Mariel convinced me last night,” said Kronbauer on Thursday. “She said, ‘It’s the season, it’s the spirit of Christmas. Don’t let it (theft) ruin our Christmas. It’s very important to you and you should seriously think about not shutting it down.’”
So, after work on Thursday, Kronbauer was out in his yard, tweaking the display, adding a tent peg to solidify one of the blow-ups. And he turned the lights back on.
As for the missing lights, and the person who took them, Kronbauer hopes there was a good reason behind the theft.
“It’s the only thing I keep telling myself to make it better,” he said. “I hope they needed the lights more than I did.”