“Hi Santa,’ shouted a young girl from the backseat of her family’s SUV as they drove slowly past Kevin Farley’s eclectic and festive Christmas decorations that fill the front yard of his Montesano home.
Kevin Farley, who she misidentified as Santa, is not St. Nick — the jolly elf who rides his reindeer-powered sleigh across the world in a single night. Instead, Farley is just a nice man who wants to share Christmas cheer with his neighbors from the corner of West McBryde Avenue and North 1st Street.
Farley — who has a big, bushy beard, was wearing a red sweater and a Santa hat — laughed happily in response to his young fan.
“I get that all the time,” Farley said with a wide smile and a twinkle in his eye. “I decided to let my beard grow out. I did the goatee first and then I decided I’m gonna let the sides grow out so next year I’ll have a big nice beard.”
On top of his Christmas-colored get-up, Farley has surrounded his home with brightly colored childhood celebrities — The Hundred Acre Wood animals were there, Snoopy, Santa and his reindeer, the toy soldiers, a gingerbread “city” with a train and railroad track — and other holiday favorites. The lawn display stretches through his side yard and then through his back yard. He even has an inflatable Santa feeding reindeer, a choir and a small penguin colony.
Farley might even do more to be like the non-secular leader of Christmas as he considers adding onto his ensemble in 2023. He’s considering acquiring a Santa suit, and building a little Santa throne that’s covered to protect people from the rain. And then when the children and their parents come by, he would like to let the kids come sit with him.
“I just have to practice my ‘Ho, Ho, Ho!’ I’ve gotta get that deep voice,” Farley said.
His holiday display has already been recognized as the “Griswold Winner,” as chosen by the Montesano Chamber of Commerce. The best overall residential winner was a house on 3rd Street, and the commercial business winner was Price & Price Realty Inc.
This year, Farley has about 300 decorations on display. He wants to get all 500 of his Christmas displays in December 2023. His efforts to get all of his displays up this year were thwarted after he had an accident on his lawn while he was setting up his display. While he loves to decorate his house and his lawn, it clearly doesn’t come without sweat equity and pain.
“I tripped and fell in the backyard a couple weeks ago,” Farley said. “I’ve got to go to the doctor (Thursday.) I think I’ve fractured my arm. It was black and blue for about a week and I let it go away, but it’s still really aching a lot. I’m (also) having surgery on my hand next month. I hit my hand with a hammer. (The hammer) slipped off and hit (the lower end of the thumb).”
Farley discussed other maladies he’s sustained, and how he also needs knee replacement surgery in April or May.
“It’s really taken its toll on me,” Farley said about the injuries he’s sustained while decorating his house, which he loves. “But I keep doing it. I’ve been working in a lot of pain to get this put out, but it’s something I want to do.”
And don’t worry, Farley wasn’t wincing Wednesday night, and he seemed to be in high spirits when he spoke about his love of decorating during the Christmas season. He explained a few other reasons why he works so hard to get his overall display just right.
“I love doing it to get the smiles on people’s faces, and to make people happy,” Farley said. “If they come here and they spend enough time here to walk around, it takes them away from their problems. If they have worries and stresses, which most everybody does, it just gives them a few minutes of peace, a little happiness, it gets their kids to smile, and that’s what I like.”
Farley’s favorite displays are the elves in front of his window that is positioned just to the left of his front door. His oldest displays are his Goofy and Tigger decorations that greet his neighbors from just above the front boundary of his property. His trains have also been around for a long time too. And he has decorations for all ages, including Jack and Sally from The Nightmare before Christmas, the Tazmanian Devil, the Minions, and others. The different eras they represent are so everybody can enjoy them.
The good news, so far, is no Grinch has come by and stolen his decorations.
“That’s why everything is chained and screwed down,” Farley said.
Farley previewed his grand plans for how he’ll decorate his home and his yard for Christmas next year.
“I plan on being a lot bigger next year,” Farley said. “I don’t know how much bigger you can get on the corner, but I will be going up in the air a lot more, and all 500 displays will be out next year. The house will be lit up completely. There’ll be stuff up on the roof next year, as long as I’m healthy and I’m still here.”