New Chichester resident lights up neighborhood |

New Chichester resident lights up neighborhood

Roy Nisja's famous bubble blowing bear is performing nightly as part of his Chichester Christmas display.
Kurt Hildebrand

Got decorations

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There’s a new Christmas display in Gardnerville and most folks who’ve seen it would definitely say it glows.

New resident Roy Nisja said the display at his home on 1366 Chichester Drive is only about a third of the total.

Nisja, 84, moved to Gardnerville from San Rafael, where the Bear house was a landmark for 37 years.

Moving the entire display required its own pod.

“I defy anyone to name one other display where a bear is blowing bubbles,” he said. “But I have one my son created 35 years ago.”

Motors animate the bears doing various things, Rudolph turns his head and his nose blinks and there are a lot of lights.

Nisja is encouraging visitors to get out of their cars and look over the entire display.

“From the street they can’t see the motors and electric trains,” he said.

Nisja estimated that about a third of the total display he had in California is up for his first Christmas in Gardnerville.

“It’s a different shaped house and a smaller front yard,” he said. “It has been a challenge figuring out where and how to do things. Last year I had six electric trains on more than 300 feet of track. I can’t do it last year. When it snows, I have to put the trains away until the snow melts.”

He credits his son, Donn with starting the display.

“I will pat my son on the back,” he said. “Thirty-nine years ago in October, my 17-year-old son walked into the garage and asked if he could have a piece of plywood I had left over from a roofing job. He made a snowman and put it in front of the house. It was 7 feet high. He took care of the whole thing. Next year put that on the porch and grew from there.

While Donn Nisja, who served in the Marines, still lives in California, Nisja’s grandson Niklis lives in Minden and helped set up this year’s display.

“My son has been very dedicated to this with thousands of hours over the years,” Nisja said. “The display somewhat unusual in that it is all homemade. As we were taking it down one year my son said to me, ‘you know dad we made a lot of people happy.’”

Nisja isn’t the only Carson Valley resident with an impressive Christmas display.

Gardnerville Ranchos resident Paul Kleist said his display at 1419 Shasta Drive is worth a visit.