All is right again

Don and Jackie Corri

Photo By ang lor

No house in Chico is more notorious for going all out with Christmas displays than Don and Jackie Corrie’s house at the corner of East First and Holben avenues. Sensory overload might be an understatement—the yard is filled with 32 animated characters, a full set of trains on a track and 17 display houses. Each house has its own theme, ranging from a traditional village Christmas scene to Mickey and friends in the Disney house. The Corries start preparing in late August through October by pulling out all the characters, lights and other props and putting the pieces together. Between the end of November, the official “put it up” month, and Christmas, they will have greeted more than 10,000 visitors.

How long have you been putting up your display, and is there a reason behind this?

Don: We purchased (the reindeer and Santa Claus) after our son Mike was killed. And he was killed in 1980.

Jackie: We started it in ‘81.

What’s been the reaction?

Don: People love it. We had some people come by four nights ago. They brought their family, and the kids are now in college. She said, “We first came to this display when our little girl was in our arms, she was a baby. We come every year and this is routine.”

Jackie: We just got a card today. He hasn’t seen it. The response this year is a little different. It says, “All is right with Chico again this Christmas with your beautiful display back up spreading joy. Merry Christmas.” And we don’t even know who the card is from. But people in Chico are glad, because we didn’t do it last year.

Why didn’t you put the display up last year?

Don: I had cancer in my back. I had a back brace on, and I couldn’t do the maintenance. Every two or three days you have to do the maintenance. I couldn’t bend over and put the display up. But the back brace is off now. My back is better. I’m feeling better. And the cancer is still there, I’m sure, but that’s OK.

Is it any different to miss a year and come back?

Don: Oh yeah. I mean, we missed last year. It had to happen so we did it. And now we’re back again full blown, bigger and better.

How has the display changed over the years?

Don: We build one house a year. This year’s display has one new house. We now have 17 houses, and each house has its own theme. And then we have 32 animated characters. We bought new G-scale trains. We have three G-scale trains right now, and we have two HO trains and two sound systems.

Do you know how many people usually come by every night?

Jackie: We give out about 8,000 candy canes a year. That’s just to little kids and, of course, they have family. This year, we had about 100 the first night, which was Nov. 30. That’s quite a few people for the first night.

Don: The crowds get bigger and bigger. Tonight will be a smaller crowd because it’s Monday night, but next weekend it will be a little larger.

Jackie: We’ve had limousines and buses.

How long will your display be up?

Jackie: Until Dec. 25. We come down the day after Christmas. Christmas is over. (Laughs) We’ve been working on it since August. So when it’s over for us, it’s over.