By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium
ST. JOSEPH — Rick Dias and Olivia Edmundson celebrate the holidays more creatively than the average homeowner.
The St. Joseph couple bought the house adjacent to the CVS Pharmacy on Niles Avenue and have been going all out on their decorations for the last two years.
Originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil, Edmundson moved to Michigan to work at Whirlpool Corp. Alongside her husband – also from Sao Paulo – and two dogs, the family has grown quite keen on American holidays.
“I love Christmas. Plus, in Brazil, they don’t really celebrate Halloween, and that’s what Rick has grown to like too,” Edmundson said.
Their house was built in 1890, but the couple have been updating it ever since. When searching for a house to move into, Dias was hoping for a remodeling project.
The home is in the perfect spot for decorations, as it is located next to the Niles and Napier Avenue intersection. Anyone stopped at the traffic light while heading south on Niles, will have a clear view of the holiday home.
Edmundson said the realtor showed them the house through FaceTime and they bought the house before even seeing it in person.
The two have been together for 13 years, where they attended the same university and lived most of their lives in another city.
“This is the first time we have really lived in a house,” Edmundson said. “The city is so densely populated. We were so excited about being able to express ourselves to our neighbors.”
The first holiday they decorated for was Halloween.
Dias built some zombies that resembled those from The Walking Dead along with some skeletons. Next came Christmas, when the two placed a larger-than-life snow globe in the front yard.
They began getting people to come to their yard, which proved to be a great conversation starter. Even coworkers would tell Edmundson and Dias how much they enjoyed their decorations.
“When we moved to the U.S., Halloween was interesting for us to see how kids and adults were able to make it special,” Edmundson said. “We really go all out for Halloween and Christmas.”
Dias said the decorations made people feel good, so they decided to have fun with it.
This year, around the time they were taking down Halloween decorations and putting up Christmas ones, a woman who had parked over at CVS walked over to compliment them on their efforts. Before she left, the woman told the creative couple she couldn’t wait to see what they were going to do for Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day and Easter.
Befuddled by the request, Dias and Edmundson decided to string up red hearts and streamers along the foliage in their yard.
“I mean, we have Valentine’s in Brazil, but it’s in June,” Edmundson explained. “We don’t do St. Patrick’s or Halloween. But Halloween is getting popular over there because of movies and TV shows.”
Dias and Edmundson aren’t the only ones in the house that get into the holiday spirit.
Their dogs normally get dressed up for a Halloween costume contest. One dog went as a tiger last year, while both were “the bride and groom” for this year’s contest.
“It feels great to make people smile,” Edmundson said. “There are other houses that decorate and I do believe we go a little crazy. But it’s all fun.”
(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Feb. 13, 2017)