The flocked Christmas tree that adorns Ruth A. Thomas' front room displays more than 18 years of handiwork and love.

There has always been a flurry of activity around the Thomas home during Christmas. Thomas' husband, the late Henry W. Thomas, was famous in the neighborhood for his homemade sleighs. While he was the one making the majority of the handicraft items, Ruth occasionally pitched in and crocheted or knitted an ornament or two.It wasn't until after Henry died, 18 years ago, that Thomas really started making her ornaments, villages and dolls.

"I'm not a person that sits and reads a lot. I'd rather crochet and knit," Thomas said. "Sometimes I sit here and wish my honey was here to see this."

Thomas is referring to the hundreds of ornaments, dolls, village pieces and other handicrafts that now fill most of the rooms in her home at Christmas. There are so many Christmas decorations that Thomas said it took her nearly three weeks to put them all in place.

It is Thomas' ability to recycle old items, crochet over them and turn them into new Christmas decorations, that makes her collection so intriguing. Among the recycled items covered in yarn are used "Whistling Pete" firecrackers and other used fireworks containers; plastic eggs from gum ball and candy machines, old pill bottles and hand lotion containers. Thomas can take just about any item and turn it into a lovely Christmas ornament.

When those ornaments are all in place, sometime just after Thanksgiving, Thomas said the crowds start coming.

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"I had 15 people come through here the other night, and I have had folks from as far away as Ogden come and look at the decorations," Thomas said.

The tree in Thomas' front room is decorated completely in white. Ornaments include knitted booties and miniature mittens, crocheted mini ballet shoes, snowflakes, icicles, lanterns and fans. Strands of pearls and white lights garnish the tree. A hand-woven village and toy train set sits at its base.

In Thomas' sitting room, a Christmas tree decorated in red and white displays several of her recycled ornaments. The fireplace mantle is lined with old doll heads with newly knitted and crocheted bodies in red and white, and another village sits by the hearth.

Thomas, now 75, isn't sure how many more holiday seasons she'll have, but in the meantime she said she'll continue to add new decorations to her famous collection for next year's visitors.

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