Christmas house Mindemoya centrepiece

MINDEMOYA—It is easy to see that the Abbott family of Mindemoya absolutely love Christmas as their yard and house is done up spectacularly for the festive season. Actually, Frank and Janice Abbott and their daughter Shanelle start well before December with their decorations as they want everything to be ready by the deer hunt and the Journey to Bethlehem—and decorations there are!

The large yard is filled end to end with candy canes large and small, red and white suckers, a mother penguin and her baby, a blow-up Santa and gingerbread man, nutcrackers, a moose and a large ‘Let It Snow!’ sign on the roof. There are lights along the top of the house that look like falling snowflakes and there is a large Santa complete with sleigh and four reindeer.

The Abbotts have lived on Thorne Street by Central Manitoulin Public School for over seven years now and every year their Christmas yard is embellished more and more. “Every year it grew,” said Ms. Abbott as her husband agreed, saying, “We try to grow it every year,” with the outcome leading to 40 to 50 hours to decorate the yard. Some of the Christmas accessories, like the sleigh and the roof frame for the sign, were made by Mr. Abbott, while his wife made the candy canes, but a lot of things were bought on the Island. “We try to buy as much as we can on Manitoulin,” said Mr. Abbott, “And Barry Williamson (of D.A. Williamson and Sons) is very, very generous to us with discounts because he loves the lights.”

“And so do his daughters,” added Ms. Abbott. (While travelling the Mindemoya light circuit, the community park is also all lit up, thanks to the work (and donations) of elves Mr. Williamson, Kate Wilson, Blanche McDermid and Fran Cox.)

This family is also very grateful to Owen and Wayne Legge as these two businessmen donate a 10-foot by 10-foot storage unit for the Abbotts to keep the decorations in during the off-season as they too love the Christmas lights.

And speaking of lights, there are 16,000 of them between the inside and outside of the house. This, of course, begs the Hydro question. “Actually, it’s not that bad,” said Ms. Abbott, “As everything is LED.”

The inside of the house is also beautifully decorated. There are two (rotating) Christmas trees, with 1,000 white lights on the one in the living room and 600 lights as well as crystal ornaments on the one in the family room which was decorated by daughter Shanelle. The Abbotts also have a large collection of Thomas Kincaid houses and churches which are displayed by the front window and also an arrangement of fibre optic angels. In keeping with the true meaning of Christmas, the family has a large Nativity scene and somehow their cat manages to sleep on the stable roof without disturbing an angel positioned there.

Every year these special Christmas folks hold an event for families. On the last school day before Christmas, which is December 21 this year, the Abbotts invite everyone to come and see the decorations and take pictures of the children in Santa’s sleigh. There is coffee and hot chocolate available and Foodland and Guardian Drugstore generously donate Christmas cookies. There are speakers outside and Ms. Abbott plays Christmas music from her laptop.

No matter where you live on Manitoulin, it is well worth your while to make the trip to Mindemoya to see this beautiful Christmas house.

The Abbott home is the first to be entered on The Expositor’s most recent Facebook photo contest, ‘Show us your lights Manitoulin.’ Photographers are encouraged to take pictures of their beautifully lit homes and submit them to for judging, complete with street address. Most ‘likes’ will win $75 for first place, $50 for second place and $25 for third, all in the form of gift certificates to the Island business of their choice. The addresses will then be compiled into a map which can be found in this paper and on our website,, before Christmas. Families are then encouraged to drive the route over the holidays and take in all that hard work! The deadline for the contest is January 2, 2013.

Betty Bardswich