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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Kyle Vuille photo

Rural living doesn't stop couple from going all out at Christmas time (slideshow 2)

By Kyle Vuille

Ranger-Review Staff Writer

“Who’s going to see this?”  

“The deer and the antelope?”  

That is the running joke between Gary and Brenda Kartevold about the mass amount of Christmas decorations that run the perimeter of their property located several miles east of Glendive. The Kartevold’s property can barely be seen from the rural road, and they are completely out of sight from the interstate.

But that doesn’t stop them from making their home magical at Christmas time.

“I grew up in a family that decorated, I decorate and now I have six grandchildren  and they’ll decorate,” Brenda said.

And the process of getting the house ready isn’t an easy one. Brenda starts putting up decorations a week before Thanksgiving.

“It usually takes me a good week,” Brenda said.

Brenda said she used to get a majority of her decorations and lights from the after Christmas sale at Kmart as well as various yard sales and the Attic thrift store.

Brenda said when she moved into the house with Gary on a rural road located between the Hodges and Griffith Creek exits, she filled an empty boxcar with lights and decorations.  Each year the pile of decorations she stores continues to grow.

Brenda said her collection of Christmas lights and decorations has probably doubled since the first Christmas she and Gary spent together. 

Brenda said she goes through lights like crazy because the wind out on the prairie is hard on them. She always has extras on hand.

“I stockpile them because of the wind out here,” Brenda said.

With the house decorated inside and out, the fence strung with lights and snowflakes and lights projected on the trees, the Kartevold’s house and yard is quite the Christmas spectacle.

“I tried the star streamers (projected lights) this year to save on lights,” Brenda said.

Brenda also mentioned she has always collected snowmen and Santa Clauses, but the ones displayed in their home were all bought by Gary throughout their years together.

“I collect Santa Clauses and Gary started buying the bigger ones every year as a present so I put those ones out,” Brenda said. “The porch is covered in snowmen and the house is filled with Santas.”

Though the lights and decorations look very strategically placed, that’s not the case, according to Brenda. She said her biggest little helper is her 6-year-old granddaughter, Kaysea. Brenda’s daughter and grandchildren also live on the property,

“I just find cool things and snag them,” Brenda said. “There’s no rhyme or reason. My granddaughter helps me, tells me what looks good,  and we switch things around and go from there.”

Gary also has a role in the decorating process. Brenda said Gary drives her around in the tractor bucket so she can string lights on the roof of the house.

“That’s probably the hardest part because we have a tin roof now,” Brenda said.

As for a favorite decoration, Brenda said she doesn’t have one in particular.

“I just like the lights, lots of lights,” Brenda said.

Brenda emphasized Christmas to her is about family and friends. The hard work the Kartevolds put into making their home a winter wonderland, while not visible to just anyone, will be enjoyed by the people most important to them.

“Christmas is about family and friends (and the deer and the antelope),” Brenda said. “That’s when we always get together.”

Reach Kyle Vuille at

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