MINFORD — As the saying goes, Christmas is where the heart and there is a man who has done just that for his family for the past 35 years.
Ralph Clifford from Minford and his wife Anna had always been big Christmas people, but when they found out they were having a grandchild, things really changed. This is where Clifford began this enormous Christmas display he has in his house and has been built upon for the past many years.
According to Angie Clifford Allen, Clifford’s daughter, “My mother bought the first four pieces that started this collection of my father’s. My parents have always been big Christmas people. Then when my oldest daughter LeeAnn was they had these first four pieces.”
My dad has played Santa Claus in the early ‘80’s then when when they found out they were having a grandchild they bought some little elves and chimes. The chimes are still in the original box. Then on her first Christmas in 1986, Dad started her a Hallmark Christmas ornament collection and every Christmas since then each grandchild and great grandchild gets a Hallmark ornament and they each have their own collection.
Allen also added that over the years she and her mom would buy new things for her dad’s collection. She said that he has a 7 ft. Grinch, Nightmare Before Christmas Collection, and that the Polar Express train is in his L-shaped living room and that train goes all the way around the outside of everything.
Allen said, “On top of his fireplace is a nativity scene my parents bought when they got married in July of 1965, and that was their first Christmas thing that they ever bought.” And that has been put in every Christmas since, it has their mom’s photo who has since passed displayed with it.
Allen said that both her mom and dad have always given fro the heart not just at Christmas. The both worked at the MRDD school for over 25 years of service. He played Santa Claus for them. He did Santa for Children’s Service and sheand her sister, Teresa Carter, and mom would choose three families and “we would go shopping for them to people that were in need and we are blessed people.”
“You may not always get what you want for Christmas, but it’s Christmas everyday and it’s better to give than receive. Just this week, we heard about a kid and the dad was broke down didn’t have a way to the doctor or anything and a group with her dad gave money and we went and got them something for Christmas and the boy said all that the boy just wanted a DVD played so he could watch Batman together with his dad. So the heart of giving has spread with my whole family. Thanks in most part to my dad.”
When asked how Clifford felt when he played Santa he said, “I’m just the man in the red suit, the true meaning of Christmas is the nativity and Jesus’ birthday.”
Allen described how his living room used to be three rooms, but now it is all one huge room in an L-shaped living room Right now loaded with Christmas.
One of his granddaughters, Leah said, “It has always been that way since I was little it was definitely one of the most magical places of my childhood. My papaw would be dressed up as Santa and I would sit on his lap, but did not know it was him.”
When asked what made him keep growing and decorating like you do. He said that sarting with the grandkids and he would add more things and people would gift him things to add and it just exploded. He has so much now that not even half of it is out is what the family says.
There are some things that he puts out every year and then there are those that he puts out new every year. Would he ever change doing this or are you glad you have done this all these years? “I’m glad I have been able to do this all these years.”
“He did it becasue he enjoyed the years he was able to do it and the kids that he seen that were in need. He wanted to bring the joy to their lives. Clifford said he is definitely blessed. He now has seven grandkids and eight great grandchildren. They all say he is a special man, and sharing all this Christmas stuff is only part of what makes him so.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
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