Each year, as we Northeast Iowans carefully take out our holiday decorations and delicately place on the tree for another holiday season, we are reminded of each passing year by looking at the ornaments that were passed down from one generation to another, some homemade by our children, some given to us as gifts. We may remember what was going on in our lives as each new gem was added, the person who gave the ornament to us, or that special memory of a friend or family member that is still with us in spirit. The adorned Christmas tree then becomes a diary of our Northeast Iowa Christmas past and present for all to share and remember. Some enjoy ornaments so much that they have become serious collectors like Kim Zweibohmer of Ossian. His decorations light up Northeast Iowa in a special way and people flock from all over to see his house full of decorated trees.
As we pulled up to Kim’s country cottage type home in Ossian, the snow was softly coming down and lights were twinkling through the windows from the decorated trees inside. We found trees trimmed in almost every room of his home in all kinds of colors, showing off his extensive collection. It is hard to describe the jaw dropping beauty that laid in front of us. It took me quite some time to take photos of the displays that I later made into a video with holiday music as a remembrance of his Northeast Iowa hospitality.
Kim started collecting over ten years ago by purchasing a Charity Awareness Radko ornament with a special friend and soon became a full fledged collector of Christopher Radko designs. That special friend is no longer here, but the memories are kept alive each time he hangs that one special ornament each year. Each ornament we hang brings back a flood of memories from Christmas past and that is why many people add a new ornament to the tree each year to continue the tradition. But not Kim, he continues to collect all year round and adds many to his collection each year. This year he has multiple trees in different colors all over his house covered with cherished ornaments that takes him months to set up. They really are jaw droppingly beautiful!
As the rest of us are contemplating the major job of putting away our decorations soon, Kim will keep his up for awhile longer as many guests will arrive for viewings before he tackles the huge job of carefully putting away and organizing his collection that takes up at least one room to store.
“You have to see the ornaments to really appreciate them,” explains Kim. The shiny, glitzy ornaments are something to behold, plus add Kim’s talented decorating flair would be great for a holiday tour for a non profit organization.
Our adorned Christmas tree becomes a diary of Christmas past and present for all to share and remember, possibly reminding us of our Iowa childhood Christmases here in beautiful Northeast Iowa. Let’s keep the warm memories coming do matter how you trim your tree.