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Couple goes all out with Christmas decorations

By Janet Kubat Willette

Date Modified: 12/27/2012 8:42 AM

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ROCHESTER — "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas everywhere you go . . . "

Be it the bathroom, the guest bedroom, the family room, the dining room, the downstairs bathroom. You get the idea.

Every room in Terry and Sue Clark's northeast Rochester home has something Christmas in it.

"We're the Griswold Clarks," Sue said, referring to the family made popular in 1980s-vintage movies.

While many people are content to put up a tree and hang a few stockings by the fireplace, the Clarks do that and much, much more.

"I don't knit, I don't do crafts. I do Christmas," Sue said.

She thought she might give up the decorating this year — it takes hours upon hours, starting right after Halloween — but when she overheard one grandson bragging to his friend about how his grandma decorates for Christmas, she knew the tradition would continue.

"It's truly, truly expected now," Sue said.

The couple pours themselves into decorating their home and receive joy from sharing it with others. They host family and friends throughout the Christmas season, letting little ones push all the buttons on the Santas and older ones marvel at their miniature village collection or the Irish collection.

Terry Clark is a proud Irishman and the Irish room is his pride and joy. A snow-covered tree in the corner is covered with green ornaments, including a pot of gold, four-leaf clovers, stars, Irish Santas and little Leprechaun hats.

On a shelf along the other wall, Terry has another of his favorites, a pair of cardinals who sing to one another. He bought a box at an auction and didn't know the pair were inside.

Most everything in the couple's collection was previously loved, Sue said.

"Quite honestly, I get a lot of stuff given to me," she said.

They also find things at rummage and estate sales, the Salvation Army and Goodwill. Friends will gift them items and they will find other things on their doorstep.

The motorcycle Santa in the Santa room showed up on their doorstep. A friend wanted Sue to have it, but she declined, saying she didn't have anywhere to put it.

Lo and behold, it's found a place front and center in the Santa room and her four-year-old grandson loves pushing the button.

The Santa room moves from room to room as does the firefighter room. All three of their three living sons are firefighters. Son Jeff is at Edina, K.C. at Rochester and Chad in Stewartville. They also have four grandsons.

They started collecting fire stations when the boys went into the fire service and those line a dresser in the firefighter room. The lights on the tree blink, animating the fire truck and firefighter ornaments. One features three firefighters together, just like their boys.