On your Liberty Hill holiday tour, be sure to visit the ‘island of misfit decorations’
By ANTHONY FLORES
Throughout the Stonewall subdivision in Liberty Hill, a flood of homes covered head to toe in Christmas lights and decorations sparkle in all their glory.
One house, however, stands out from the pack, surely noticeable from space for all its brightness and cheer.
The display of Christmas spirit at 108 Rhinestone Cove can only be described as a winter festival shrunken down and stuffed into one front yard. Eye-catching, to say the least, the senses are overwhelmed, not knowing what to focus on. For these reasons and more, the home won the title of 2020 Liberty Hill Independent Holiday Home Decoration Champion.
Walking through a tunnel of light, visitors see a working ferris wheel, a spinning swing set, elves on a see-saw, a nativity scene, Bevo the Longhorn mascot, everyone’s favorite talking dog Scooby-Doo, Yoda, a series of brightly colored Christmas trees, and even an infamous emoji at the very front of the scene. These are just a few of the standout decorations.
It’s taken Sara Brown Flemming close to six years to collect all of the decorations she spends hours setting up each year. To Flemming, this is her Island of Misfit Decorations.
“I still don’t have everything up. Eventually, we run out of time,” said Flemming. “We started around Halloween. We start pulling the lights out and testing them. We work a few weeks just getting the lights out. We used to drink eggnog and start the day after Thanksgiving, but it’s gotten so big that it just doesn’t work anymore. We started putting things out the week before Thanksgiving.”
It’s a thrill for Flemming to watch folks look through the display and discover decorations they didn’t notice at first.
“I get to see people driving by and see the faces of the kids. I’ll stop them and ask them what was their favorite part,” said Flemming. “My neighbor said the other day that they thought there might be even more stuff out than before. I told them to look at it as a game. You never know what you’re going to find here.”
To the uninformed eye, this collection of unique decorations may appear random. For Flemming, each holds a significant meaning.
“My oldest son is 23, and to this day, he still loves Scooby-Doo, and for Halloween, he was Shaggy. That’s my little ode to him,” said Flemming. “My youngest loves Star Wars, and we put Yoda out there. Without knowing, we kind of faced him toward baby Jesus, and now it’s like Yoda and Scooby are presenting gifts to baby Jesus.”
The colors of each of the Christmas trees in the display signify something different to Flemming. The red tree serves as a representation of her faith, the pink shows her strength as a breast cancer survivor. The red, white, and blue is her love for her country and those who defend it. The purple and gold tree shows her pride in her community, and her burnt orange tree? Well, that’s just her being a good Longhorn fan.
During a typical year, unaffected by a pandemic, Flemming would offer viewers the chance to interact with some aspects of the display.
“That red tree there, what we want to do is make it a prayer tree where we put ornaments in a bucket by the tree. Because of COVID, we have to try and make it as safe as possible,” said Flemming. “We want people to come and write the name of someone they want to pray for and hang it on the tree.”
Many of the decorations on the yard – the Christmas trees as an example – are re-purposed decorations.
“Each year, we would drive around during garbage day after Christmas, and we still do that to this day,” said Flemming. “You’d be amazed how much of my yard is the stuff that other people have put out. People throw away their Christmas trees, and I just spray paint them. Each year I try and create a new tree.”
Flemming doesn’t mind the increased electric bill that comes with a display of this caliber. This is a service from the heart for the self-appointed Christmas fanatic.
“This is our small gift to the community,” said Flemming. “Normally, we set up Santa in the front yard and let people come and take pictures. We have cookies and hot chocolate. We collect donations and then give them to a cause. The act of giving provides so much healing within us.”