Lakeland Fl.—After moving to Florida fifteen years ago from South Buffalo, George and Maureen O’Hara soon felt a giant void in their lives that they tried to fill with novelty Christmas decorations. Their collection includes two-hundred-seventy Santa figures from around the world, over sixty Nutcrackers and more than sixty Christmas villages.
To ease the transition when they moved the O’Hara’s brought as much of Buffalo as they could to Florida. Even today you’ll find a freezer full of Sahlen’s hot dogs, a cupboard packed with Frank’s Hot Sauce and a wall of Genny thirty packs out in the garage. Maureen also keeps an ice scraper in her glove box because, “ya never know.” Yet, as much as they enjoyed these creature comforts from back home there was still something missing in their lives.
They tried to fill the void with all kinds of things: yoga, meditation, naked sunbathing, which landed their pasty white South Buffalo asses in the hospital with third degree burns. They also tried to assimilate into Floridian culture by attending NASCAR events and collecting mostly legal firearms. They found a certain satisfaction in amassing firearms until George accidently blew off his toe shit-talking about the Bills down at the Lakeland Rod & Gun. He was not having any revisionist history that day—Jim Kelly owned the Dolphins and Dan Marino for a decade. Four Super Bowl losses and Marino’s gaudy stats doesn’t change that one bit.
Still feeling a hole in their lives after these false starts they settled on collecting Santas and other Christmas decorations. No longer plagued by seasonal affective disorder, which always made both George and Maureen feel like they had been hit in the face with an iron shovel, they took their good moods and positive energy and channeled them into the joyous celebration of Christmas. And, for the O’Hara’s, Christmas starts the day after Halloween, when they start setting up their vast collection and ends around Valentine’s Day when they have the last of their Santas and Nutcrackers packed away.
Asked whether the Christmas collection had the effect they were hoping for and filled the void in their lives, the O’Hara’s pause and then look at each other for a moment before Maureen says: “Well…what do you think? We have almost three hundred freaking Santas from around the world, sixty Nutcrackers and more than sixty freaking Christmas Villages. I’m a grown-ass woman and for more than a month I set up little train stations, miniature snowmen and tiny snow covered houses and then spend another month taking them down. Would that fill the void in you life?”
Clearly annoyed Maureen stormed away saying, “George, I’m going to the bar. You coming?”
You can arrange to view the O’Hara’s Christmas collection by contacting them through social media. There is no fee, but donations are appreciated, especially donations of bourbon or vodka.