CALGARY – A young Calgary man has meticulously turned a tiny gift from his mom, into a huge holiday wonderland. Richard Kelly Kemick admits, he has become obsessed with his tiny Christmas village.
“I love the ability to create your own Christmas utopia,” said the 25-year-old. “In grade nine, I got my first piece from my mother – a restaurant – which I still have, of course, and from then, the village has been growing at a Calgarian rate.”
In fact, the tiny town is now sprawling over his parents’ dining room table.
“He just always was mesmerized with little things,” said Richard’s mom, Kelly.
Kemick has 18 buildings, 60 people and countless accessories which have cost him and kind family members thousands of dollars. He’s even sold his wife’s clothing to buy up new pieces.
“Since we don’t have a lot of space in our apartment, I have killed two birds with one stone by selling articles of my wife’s clothing that she doesn’t wear and then funnelling those funds into the Christmas village,” said Kemick.
He doesn’t share his creation with just anyone.
“People go a few years before they become ‘village material’ except my mother told my wife about it quite quickly into our courtship – about two weeks. It was quite the bombshell.”
While his wife, Litia, now accepts the village is a big part her husband’s life – she chooses gifts carefully.
“Sometimes people – with their best intentions – buy me a gift that just does not fit,” said Kemick.
Village items are categorized by era and Kemick’s pieces are of the Victorian variety. He woefully accepted a piece from his brother that included two boys, wearing modern Gore-Tex jackets, as part of his design.
The creation changes yearly as it emerges from storage each December and requires reassembly according to scale, style and practicality.
“A good friend of mine is a city planner and he told me that the new direction cities are going is integrated housing with businesses. So, it’s no longer suburb and downtown as I used to set it up. Now I’ve been really experimenting with the carbon footprint of the people that don’t move,” said Kemick.
It’s perhaps that stillness that appeals to him most.
Kemick isn’t actually a fan of the Christmas season.
“The village affords this little bubble, if you will, that protects you from the rest of this hectic holiday.”