Christmas village truly one of a kind

Published 9:15 am Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Driving along Harriott Street, the sparse outdoor holiday yard display across from the Manteo Middle School exit belies the wonder contained within the home’s interior.

Known for some very creative holiday displays, the scene around the home of Necy Morris and her husband Ivan Howard is a little more modest compared to those they have set up in previous years. That’s because Morris has turned her living room into a winter wonderland with a scaled down Christmas village as detailed and impressive as any outdoor scene she’s created.

Passing motorists might recall seeing an entire Whoville Christmas village there, one that filled her yard out each Christmas over a span of several years.

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The fictional town created by author Theodor Seuss Geisel, under the name Dr. Seuss, Whoville appeared in a couple of his books and a popular movie. The replica Morris created was so lifelike that people would stop to walk around and, with permission, let their children sit and play in the cars.

A victim of age and weather deterioration, her Whoville village is gone.

However, while her Whoville village was based on an imaginary location, her indoor Christmas village is based on the real-life homes of her own family members – most of it crafted from scratch.

“I guess it took me about three weeks to build it,” explained Morris. “I worked on it a little at a time.”

Carving out a little free time whenever possible, Morris carefully created her indoor Christmas village using cardboard boxes to craft miniature homes of several family members right down to matching automobiles. Decorated for the holidays, she added store bought lights, wreaths, reindeer and matches as fishing rod holders on the front of one truck.

“I created the icicles and some of the snow with glue from a hot gun,” Morris explained. “Then I added the glitter.”

While she doesn’t recall the original inspiration for her small family village, she does remember that she started with her own house and branched out to include her sisters and her mother. Her village now spreads out across a foam board extending off the edge of a desk with another foam board holding the far end up.

“There wasn’t enough room for my brothers,” she added with a laugh.

Holding up her cell phone to each tiny structure, Morris compares the final product to her photo image and explains some of the intricate details behind each setting. Pointing to each one, Morris explains that, in addition to her own, there are houses for Nancy Collins, Joann Selby, Cheryl Morris, Glenda Banks and one for her mother, Mamie McMurrin.

“They are not exact replicas,” Morris added. “But they are close. The colors may be off, but they are pretty close.”

One space-saving idea was to include her sister Nancy’s SUV inside the garage. You just have to stoop over and peek into the window to see it.

A continued close look also reveals front license plates for each Carolina fan and Dallas Cowboys fan attached to their respective vehicles.

A look around the home’s interior reveals several Christmas trees, wreaths, stockings and other ornaments as plenty of evidence she’s into the Christmas season. Paper streamers are attached to the ceiling across the entire living room and kitchen. Most of it is handmade.

“I just do it all from old stuff,” she explains when asked about her creations. “I use old curtains, old rugs, old fabric and old shower curtains.”

Each of the four Christmas trees displays a different theme. A pencil tree in the bedroom, a white traditional tree in the living room. A purple tree – because that’s her favorite color – sits in the kitchen and another green tree with a Grinch theme is in another corner.

The Grinch is a fictional green character created by Dr. Seuss and best known as the main character of the 1957 children’s book “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” who lived in seclusion on a cliff overlooking Whoville. Although the Grinch hates Christmas he has a transformation similar to that of Ebenezer Scrooge in the 1843 story “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens.

All around the house are Grinch dolls that talk, Grinch dolls that blink and some just sit or stand in place with a smile. A string of light bulbs across the living room ceiling is painted green with Grinch faces is but one more example of her focus on the Grinch. The Grinch alone tree holds 53 Grinch ornaments on the tree.

“I love the Grinch because he exemplifies the love of Christmas,” said Morris. “He found love and brought everything back.”

Her collection includes more than Grinch items. Some 63 Christmas tins are sitting around the house, each numbered to nest them for storage. She also has Santa statues and angels all around the house.

The purple Christmas tree has angels made about 25 years ago.

“It’s relaxing to be a crafter,” explains Morris. “Sometimes I prefer to just stay home and draw, paint or sew. I just like to piddle.”

So what’s in store for the future?

Morris said for next year she’s considering turning the Harriot Street residence into a gingerbread house.