Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Jan. 1, 2001

Don't believe in Santa? Visit Jim and Pat Thrift's home in Waverly

By Lynda Jensen

The chime of a grandfather clock and the faint aroma of pipe tobacco at the Jim and Pat Thrift home in Waverly give the feeling that Santa Claus just left a little bit ago.

Their home is a scene out of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," packed with Christmas decorations inside and out - including six decorated, full-size Christmas trees.

The sound of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker suite can be heard throughout the house as animated toy soldiers, carolers, reindeer, and Christmas angels move about on table tops and under foot.

The Thrift house displays what must be thousands of angels, strewn about the Christmas trees and festooned around coffee tables, sitting atop available countertops and anyplace else Pat can find.

Her Christmas trees put any department store to shame, with a separate theme for each tree.

One tree is full of white candlesticks and smiling Santas, another holds dozens of handmade lace and cheerful red bulbs and lights, while another is decorated with cool blue lights and little snowmen.

A Christmas carousel turns around as it plucks a tune. Another animated carousel twirls Christmas balls in a circle, each opening in succession to show tiny dancers inside, spinning and dancing to the sound of the Nutcracker.

Santa, in various stages of preparation; stuffed Santa bears, and porcelain figures of every kind are a small sample of things found there, collected over a lifetime of Pat's careful purchases.

She started 37 years ago, when she spent her last $5 on a Coca Cola Santa Claus, which she has in her living room.

She found many of her display pieces at garage sales or in bargain bins, she said.

In fact, a sign that reads "Welcome to Thrifts," which was painted by two granddaughters, Calleigh and Ashley, appears on the outside of their house. This has caused a few visits from those looking for bargains to purchase.

In addition, Pat makes a good portion of her ornaments, including handmade lace angels and other crotcheted items.

She made 90 clothespin lace angels for gifts one year, giving them to her children and grandchildren.

Of course, Christmas is Pat's favorite time of year.

"It's so much fun buying gifts for people," Pat said. "I just love it."

The Thrifts have five children and seven grandchildren, who also enjoy Jim's collection of German cuckoo clocks.

Jim owns about 60 cuckoo clocks, large and small, that also add a great deal to the wonderful atmosphere at the Thrift home.

His clocks line the walls throughout the house. One clock has a dancing lady below it, that bounces along with the time.

Jim is also talented in that he can repair clocks, keeping a well-used workshop in his basement.

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