No Scrooges for Kamloops woman who receives anonymous holiday letters and gifts for her display - InfoNews

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No Scrooges for Kamloops woman who receives anonymous holiday letters and gifts for her display

Rena Clare's home is decorated for various holidays every year, and she has never seen any theft or intentional damages.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Rena Clare
December 10, 2019 - 6:30 AM

Sometimes, the goodwill and holiday cheer shown by homeowners can be a nasty reminder of the Grinches and Scrooges lurking in the shadows, stealing packages and decorations and putting a damper on the holidays.

This is not one of those stories.

Rena Clare has been decorating her home for the holidays since she married her husband Dennis 40 years ago. They have never had a single theft, and have recently seen quite the opposite since moving to Valleyview — people are leaving them gifts and thank-you cards. This year, they got one of the biggest gifts yet, a brand-new festive teapot.

“We’re in Valleyview… there’s a lot of theft, and we’ve been really fortunate. No one has taken anything. If anything, we receive gifts. The teapot was the latest,” Clare says. “It was in a box, just sitting on our step without a note…  It was in the original box it had come in and it looks like it has never been used. I think it maybe had been intended for the garden outside but right now my granddaughter is loving pouring water from it and having tea parties with it.”

Clare found this teapot in its original box on her doorstep.
Clare found this teapot in its original box on her doorstep.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Rena Clare

Clare and her husband have been living in the neighbourhood for about eight years, and their annual displays bring in families with young kids. Clare says little ones love her fairy and dinosaur garden, the teacup tree and the festive decorations. She is often left thank you notes scribbled in crayon, broken or stained teacups for her tree or tiny trinkets for the fairy garden.

“Children that are going for walks with their mommy or daddy or grandparents can have a safe little space were they can rest for a few minutes in the shade and then continue on their walk,” Clare says. “One day we were looking in the garden and there was a new little gnome house, it just appeared, no note, nothing, just a dear sweet wooden carved house.”

Despite living in a neighbourhood with frequent thefts, Clare has only seen goodwill from strangers.
Despite living in a neighbourhood with frequent thefts, Clare has only seen goodwill from strangers.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Rena Clare

Neighbouring the fairies is the dinosaur garden, where passersby often rearrange the creatures into dramatic scenes, where Clare often finds one eating the other. Clare says she often sees children and teenagers in her garden rearranging the trinkets and says it has helped her to form relationships with neighbours she might not have connected with.

“I love it because I’m becoming known as the neighbourhood grandma,” Clare says. “I’ve met so many people that live on our block who I don't think I would have otherwise. They’ll tell me about their own childhood, or the teacups their mother had… it’s a destination where you can come with grandchildren or children and I welcome any of them to play in the garden.”

Clare keeps the decorations for Halloween child-friendly, but her trademark skeleton hangs out throughout the winter and gets in the festive dress for Christmas, New Year’s Eve and even for marijuana legalization day.

“We have a skeleton, his name is Mr. Bones and he’s got a dog named Femur and a new baby… Right now he’s dressed like Santa and his dog is dressed like a reindeer,” Clare says. “Everybody gets such a kick out of that skeleton. He was even pretty funny on the day marijuana was legalized… I did it, it’s not like someone else did. He was smoking a huge joint of marijuana on Oct. (17) of last year. That got honks all day long, I could just hear people laughing.”

Mr. Bones gets brought outside for Halloween, and dresses up for nearly every other holiday until the spring.
Mr. Bones gets brought outside for Halloween, and dresses up for nearly every other holiday until the spring.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Rena Clare

Every day, Clare hears honks from friends passing by, and she chats with her neighbours whenever she gets the chance. She says some of her most cherished moments have come from reaching out and chatting with the homeless men who live nearby her home. She brings them water bottles every time she walks past, and she says they would do anything for each other. Between the young families, friendly teenagers and street entrenched men, Clare has made a connection with nearly everyone in her neighbourhood.

“It’s so easy. It’s just a little bit of kindness, a little bit of reaching out and before you know it you’ve got a whole neighbourhood full of friends.”

If you would like to visit her home and see the gardens for yourself, you can stop by 2670 Valleyview Dr.

Clare started the fairy garden for her granddaughters. Now, children from all over the neighbourhood come to play in it.
Clare started the fairy garden for her granddaughters. Now, children from all over the neighbourhood come to play in it.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Rena Clare

Mr. Bones sits outside from October until the spring and celebrates nearly anything he can, including the day marijuana was legalized.
Mr. Bones sits outside from October until the spring and celebrates nearly anything he can, including the day marijuana was legalized.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Rena Clare

Clare believes the teapot was intended for her decorated lilac tree but says her granddaughter is enjoying a few tea parties first.
Clare believes the teapot was intended for her decorated lilac tree but says her granddaughter is enjoying a few tea parties first.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Rena Clare

Every year, Clare decorates her yard for the holidays and has never had anything stolen.
Every year, Clare decorates her yard for the holidays and has never had anything stolen.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Rena Clare

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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