|The gingerbread-themed holiday display at 260 Rosemont.|
As much as we silently curse the tangle of wires and the strands we bought only last year that no longer work, there's a reason we put up Christmas lights every year. For some, it's tradition. For some, it's for the children. For some, despite the headaches, it's a joyous holiday chore.
What results is a gift, not only for the inhabitants of one's own home, but also for neighbors and the community. Take a drive around Fort Thomas after dark this weekend—we gift well.
While on that drive, there is a must see: 260 Rosemont. The Keller family has gifted all of us with a beautifully handcrafted, lifesize gingerbread-themed display. Cars slow, families get out to admire. And what many don't realize is that the display is truly a family affair. Each piece represents a member of extended family and as the family grows, so does the display.
Julie (Tedesco) Keller grew up in Fort Thomas. Fittingly she met her husband, David Keller, at a Christmas party. The first thing she asked him was what he had been doing that day. He had been putting up Christmas lights.
The two married in 1997, moved to 260 Rosemont and welcomed two children—Bella and Luke. While pregnant with Luke, who was due in December, Julie chose not to find out the sex. So she called Luke her gingerbread baby. From then on gingerbreads stuck and a collection began.
Each piece in the Keller's Christmas display represents a child (both Bella and Luke are represented) as well as the children of their extended family (Julie has three sisters, all of whom live in Fort Thomas). There are gingerbread people, icecream cones, M&M's, Hershey's Kisses, lollipops and gingerbread deer, which the Kellers call "ginny" deer.
|Maria Massa, Luke Keller and Bella Keller have spent countless hours working on the decorations.|
All the pieces are made out of plywood, painted and glittered. The entire Keller family, including Julie's niece, Maria Massa, helps craft the pieces—designing, drawing, cutting, painting, setting up. As pieces get old and weathered, new ones are made (the sleigh is new this year).
|The sleigh is new this year. As the extended family grows, more gingerbread people will be added.|
And as new family members are born, new pieces are added to the display. With three gingerbreads baking in the oven, as Julie says, and one having just been born, already the family is gearing up to add four new pieces next year.
In the off-season everything is stored in an off-site garage. David and his father, Dan Keller, along with Luke and the rest of the Keller family begin setting up a few days before Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving marks the big unveiling and the Kellers keep the display up typically into mid-January.
|Maria Massa, Luke Keller and Bella Keller stand next to their handcrafted "ginny" deer.|
David Keller stresses the teamwork involved. And while it's always been for the children, these days Bella, Luke and Maria joyfully plan and paint each season. In order to finish the gold accents on the sleigh Maria even came back home from University of Kentucky, where she is a student, on the weekends to help.
|Cars often slow down and stop when driving past 260 Rosemont.|
"The smiles on the kids' faces," Julie Keller says. "It never gets old."