Since kindergarten, KAITLIN KRYSEVIG, Central Square, has loved Lucille Ball and her slapstick comedy. She first discovered the famous red head by watching the Nickelodeon channel, which aired repeats of old TV shows. “In the summer I loved Nick at Nite’s Block Party Summers,” she says. “My friends were always annoyed with me on Tuesdays when I couldn’t play because I had to watch the Lucy marathon.”
The origin of Krysevig’s I Love Lucy tree dates back to her childhood. “I have very supportive parents,” she says, “So as soon as they learned how much I loved Lucy, they helped me find everything and anything for my collection. We love Christmas in my family so it was only natural to have an I Love Lucy Christmas.”
Many of the ornaments came from Hallmark, which used to have a Lucy Christmas line. Other pieces Krysevig and her family found at stores and specialty shops.
Krysevig readily admits her favorite piece is probably her collection’s most ugly one—Lucy dressed as a gypsy from The Operetta episode. “My mom labeled it ‘Big Ugly Lucy’ on the storage box,” she says. “My uncle found it in Ligonier, and it is a beautifully done glass piece.”
Krysevig credits her family—particularly her parents, Karen and Mark; her uncle Kevin Stemmler; and her boyfriend, Gary Debar—for helping her gather the pieces and other non-Christmas Lucy memorabilia in her still growing collection.
Not to be outdone, her boyfriend is an Abraham Lincoln/PEZ/Bobble Head collector. “Our apartment is a bit of a museum,” she says.
“I have been a fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins since I was a little girl,” says KANDACE MONTGOMERY “I was never really into baseball or football, like the rest of my family, because those sports bored me. But hockey was exciting!”
In 2007, Montgomery moved to Arizona and that’s where her Penguins tree was born. “I didn’t get to see many games,” she says. “My tree was my way of showing my Penguin pride even from across the country.”
Her ornaments come from all over—some were gifts, others she purchased for herself. “Anywhere I go that I come across a Penguins ornament, I purchase it,” she says. “I’ve found them such places as Shop ‘n Save, Walmart and even online.”
Her favorite, however, is the blinking snowman. “The top of the snowman is dressed in a Pittsburgh Penguins jersey and the bottom is an open glass ball with ‘snow’ inside that blinks different colors,” Montgomery says. “My mom bought it for me two years ago as a coming home gift. Just a little something to add to my collection!”
While her husband, Rich, helps her put up the tree, this is Montgomery’s tree. “I’m very picky about how the tree turns out,” she says.
Note: the Montgomery’s live in Castle Shannon on Hoodridge Drive. Because they live so close to the Mt. Lebanon border they receive mtl magazine and are mtl Facebook fans.
For the holidays. HEIDI and NATE NEVALA, Academy Avenue, rock a very retro 1950s era aluminum Christmas tree decorated with vintage ornaments, which they assume are from the 1950s and ‘60s.
The tree is new to the Nevalas, but has a hint of tradition to it. “We bought the tree and ornaments last year at the Trax Farm antique store,” Heidi says. “Nate’s parents have an original one that we loved and used for a Mad Men themed Christmas party a few years ago. We have been on the lookout for one ever since and were thrilled to find it there.”
Favorite ornament? An antique glass Santa. “It reminds me of something my great-grandma might have had on her tree,” says Heidi. “It just takes you back to the magic of Santa and Christmas.”
Markham Drive residents ANDY and LAURA BOOTH started their Santa and Nutcracker display about 20 years ago. “We Christmas shop year round and are always on the lookout for new additions,” says Andy.
“The Santas have always been something we enjoy, and we started looking wherever we would travel, or shop,” Andy says, adding that some were gifts, others were found at JoAnn Fabrics, Family Hospice consignment store and a gift shop in Volant.
“The nutcrackers started with a gift from a good friend whose daughter danced in the Nutcracker every year, and have grown in much the same way,” Andy says. “Even when we travel, we gravitate towards gift shops.” Two of the nutcrackers were purchased in Dusseldorf, Germany.
“Until our girls—Sam, 20, and Julie, 15—discovered clothes and shoes, we would get nutcrackers for them as Christmas gifts,” he says.
Laura—who grew up on Altadena Drive—sets the display up every year, making the necessary changes to incorporate new pieces. Andy’s personal favorite is the Cowboy Santa, which he found last year at a closeout at a store in the Strip District. “Laura is not a big fan of Cowboy Santa, but we agree to disagree,” Andy says.