A beary merry Christmas display | RecordCourier.com

A beary merry Christmas display

by Laura Brunzlick, Staff Writer

Susan and Steve Stratton add a unique spin to the holidays each year as they greet passerbys dressed as bear versions of Santa and Mrs. Claus bears in front of their Minden home.

This year, they’ve added the Grinch to the menagerie.

For 15 years the Stratton’s have treated children to an elaborate Christmas light display.

On Friday and Saturday nights for three weekends before Christmas, they greet children and families by dressing up as bear Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, a grinning bear and chipmunk.

The Strattons and their 8-year-old son Craig pass out seasonal pencils and candy from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

“I do it for fun,” Susan Stratton said. “My husband has done lights since he was 10. He took over (at his parent’s house) when he was 13.”

The Strattons live at 1660 Belarra Drive.

Their friends, including Dr. Rick Baumann and Dave Ruby, get in the act too. Baumann, of Gardnerville, dresses up as Santa Bear and Ruby, of Minden, plays the part of Mrs. Claus in the form of a panda.

Stratton said she chose bears and chipmunks after seeing football team mascots and thinking they were cute.

“We put the suits on for the kids,” she said.

Crowds gather to look at the display, which includes a wooden train set with bears, stuffed bears scattered on the Stratton’s roof and two stuffed bears sawing a piece of wood.

Children talk to Santa Bear and get their pictures taken with all the bears, Stratton said.

The Strattons start work on their holiday scene in November and have lights and decorations in place the day after Thanksgiving.

“We have lights on trees and bushes,” she said. “It looks like the Chevy Chase Christmas Vacation house.”

n Laura Brunzlick can be e-mailed at lbrunzlick@recordcourier.com