An exhibition of retro Christmas decorations, “Magical Memories of Christmas Past,” will be on display at the Lee Dam Center for Fine Art, Marysville, from November 21 through 28. The decorations are part of Gayla Hogan’s collection.
The art center is open Sunday, November 21, from 1 until 4 p.m.; Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, November 22, 23, and 24, from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.; Friday, November 26, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.; Saturday, November 27, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.; Sunday, November 28, from 1 until 4 p.m.
Hogan’s collection fills forty tubs. The decorations include village scenes, pinecone elves, a circus-themed tree, Christmas tree ornaments, nativity sets, and plastic decorations from the 1950s and ‘60s.
“Christmas was a magical time, it was something out of the ordinary,” Hogan said. “Downtown Marysville was decorated. You would go to the store and the toyland was out. I can close my eyes and picture walking into the dime store and seeing all of the decorations.”
Hogan’s passion for collecting started many years ago when she followed in her grandfather’s footsteps of collecting rocks. This led to collecting Ozark pottery and the Christmas decorations followed. When her oldest daughter, Cari, was born, Hogan started going to garage sales. She would “see things” at these sales.
“I’d find some odds and ends from a Christmas set,” she said. “After you get a few things it becomes many things.”
As Hogan’s collection grew, she decided she would keep buying until she found the best of each Christmas decoration and then she’d weed out her collection.
“I’ve never weeded out,” she quipped.
Admittedly, Hogan can’t walk past a nativity set without buying out.
“I have a lot of random pieces from nativity sets,” she said. “Sometimes I’ll mix and match them.”
Hogan decorates for every holiday, even Kansas Day. Her Kansas decorations include flags, Centennial items, and an embroidered, appliqued state map of Kansas. She’s excited to share her entire Christmas collection with the community, though.
“I think everyone will enjoy the display and see something they like,” she said, smiling. “It will bring back a special Christmas memory.”
For Hogan those memories include her mom and dad putting out the nativity set, hanging the homemade stockings – things part of every Christmas. Hogan hopes her collection will kindle special memories for others, too.
Hogan, Marysville, is married to Patrick; they have two grown daughters, Cari Nester and Emily Hogan, and two grandchildren.
The exhibition is sponsored by the Marshall County Arts Cooperative.
Admission is free. For more information people may call the arts cooperative at 785-859-4260.