It’s a five-hour drive from Bruce County, Ontario, to Frankenmuth, Michigan. Sean and Tracy Walker know the route like the backs of their hands – they’ve made it a couple of times each year for the past 10 years.
“Frankenmuth and Bronner’s – it’s where we go for vacation,” Sean said with a smile. “We’ve even looked into how to retire here (Frankenmuth).”
Beginning November 1, Sean spends much of the next five days outside decorating for Christmas. There’s the shed full of Christmas decorations and the Christmas closet downstairs. Sean decorates the outside of the house and the yard, and Tracy decorates the inside of the house.
“We meet in the middle,” said Sean.
“We bought a nice, big wooden shed that is strictly used for outside decoration storage,” Tracy said. “Sean utilizes every inch of space, believe me. We’ve accumulated 10 years of Bronner’s stuff and he switches his displays up yearly. There have been a couple of times that we’ve traveled home from here (Bronner’s), and there was barely enough room for me in the vehicle!
“It takes Sean five full days to assemble and erect everything. He has to really tie them down because of the strong winter winds! Our city hosts the Festival of Northern Lights, and it’s not proper etiquette to turn on your lights until those are turned on and Remembrance Day has passed. So they go on around November 11 and stay on into the New Year. Then Sean prays for a couple of milder days so he can take things down without freezing his fingers!”
Tracey decorates their home in a traditional, vintage look. Christmas is a favorite time of year for her; she loves to cook, bake and entertain. “I love Bronner’s amazing selection of Christmas dishes and kitchen towels,” she said.
“I also love the scents and music at Bronner’s,” Tracy said. “Everything is fine-tuned; nothing is left to be said.”
“I love the colors throughout Bronner’s,” Sean said. “The whole feeling of happiness you got as a kid returns when you’re at Bronner’s,”
Sean bought a Santa suit at Bronner’s this year. “He’s a Santa magnet for kids,” Tracy said smiling.
The Walkers hosted OHL (Ontario Hockey League) hockey players from their local team in their home for 10 years.
“We will have 11 celebrating Christmas at our house this year,” Tracy said. “Including Sean’s son and fiance and our very first OHL hockey player, Milan Doczy, and his wife. They moved to Canada from the Czech Republic permanently. Milan has only missed one Canadian Christmas at our house in 10 years. We’ll also have our parents and a friend and widowed neighbor of my mom’s. It’s a lot of specialness in our house at Christmas. I make gift bags for each place setting and everything is made from scratch.”
Christmas is truly a festive time for the Walker home, inside and out.
“People come to our door saying, ‘Please don’t stop decorating. Our kids love it,” Tracy said.
Mr. Christmas and his Mrs. hope to continue the tradition for many years to come.