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The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch - Sleepy Eye, MN
  • Decorations reflect the Christmas spirit

  • Mike Losleben of Evan decks the halls of his home.
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  • Mike Losleben of Evan sets a festive holiday mood throughout his house by weaving holiday sparkle throughout the home he shares with his wife, Tina.
     
    Just like the cold air that leaves glittery frost Mike gently ushers inside the sparkle and greenery that makes this season so beautiful. Every room in their home holds a Christmas touch.
     
    The front entrance gives guests a holiday welcome as one of four Christmas trees greets visitors. Turning the corner into the kitchen a Christmas village spreads over most of the kitchen counters. Angels adorn a built-in book shelf in the dining room and another Christmas tree stands in front of the back door and in the hallway between the kitchen and living room.
     
    Finally, a 10-foot real Christmas tree adorns one corner of the living room standing from floor to ceiling with every light just perfect and every piece of tinsel just so.
     
    Mike began creating the holiday wonderland in their home in the late 1990s and says he has been doing it ever since. From the front door to the back door, there is not a nook or cranny in Mike and Tina’s house that isn’t beautified with holiday trimmings.
     
    “Every time I find a spot I find something for the holidays to hang,” Mike said.
     
    One of Mike’s masterpieces is garland he wraps around a shelf along the ceiling. After wrapping the garland in a unique way he adds lights, colored beads, ribbons and porcelain collector bulbs. Mike estimates that decorating the shelf, which spans the length of the living room, takes around 10 hours to complete.
     
    “That’s something I just came up with,” Mike said. “I’ve tried different things, but I like the garland the best. We never have anything up on the shelf besides little dolls so I decided to try something different for Christmas.” 
     
    When asked if Tina feels left out of the decorating she said that she is so proud of Mike’s Christmas decorating that there is no reason to feel left out.
     
    “I bake lots of cookies and play music with the Sleepy Eye Area Concertina Club so I don’t feel left out at all,” Tina said, adding that she is so proud of his decorating they have started a new tradition of having people over to enjoy the decorations with Christmas music played by Tina and members of the concertina club.
    Page 2 of 2 - “The decorations are so beautiful and if we didn’t invite people over, no one would get to see the work Mike puts into it,” Tina added.
     
    Mike even makes the ‘snow’ that blankets the Christmas village. Cotton batting torn into little pieces act as snow drifts and are sprinkled with plastic snow and finished off with glitter to make the snow sparkle.
    With more than 5,000 bulbs glowing inside their home, Mike said through the Christmas season their electricity bill runs about $60 more a month. Mike said he uses LED lights when he has to replace a string of lights, but the process can be slow.
     
    In addition, he said, there are certain strings of lights that are hard to find so if one bulb burns out it becomes hard to replace. There are some strings of lights, like the lighted poinsettias, that are no longer being made.
     
    While some things are irreplaceable, Mike said every year he continues to add to his collection of lights and decorations by scouting after season sales to save money. It’s a sure bet that if he notices an empty spot on the wall this year, it will hold a decoration of some sort the following year.
     
    Decorating for the holiday season has become a creative outlet for Mike who works with the Dairy Farmers of America out of Winthrop.
     
    “It is unusual for a guy to have a knack for decorating this extravagantly and put it to use,” Tina said. I’m so proud of the decorations and the house looks so beautiful.”
     
    Each year, Mike creates an environment full of sights, sounds and aromas that provoke feelings of peace, serenity and even a bit of nostalgia, reflecting the joy of the Christmas season.
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