Perhaps it’s no surprise since “Mr. Christmas” was elected to City Council, Keller Town Hall looks a lot more like Christmas.
Ed Speakmon is a retired auto repair businessman who has been known as “Mr. Christmas” around Keller for years for his extravagant Christmas decorations, inside his home and out.
“It’s just a joy to put a smile on people’s faces this time of year,” said Speakmon, who was elected to City Council in May.
This year, as his collection of decorations grows at home, he has expanded his reach. Keller Town Hall has a much improved Christmas spirit these days, thanks to Speakmon.
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“They left it all up to me,” he said.
Inside Keller Town Hall, you’ll find a Christmas tree, polar bears and a tiny Christmas village featuring Fort Worth’s skyline — all courtesy of Speakmon. Town Hall typically only had Christmas decorations on the outside.
“We’d actually joked about this eventuality when Ed won his city council seat because city staff all knew him as ‘Mr. Christmas,’ but his holiday spirit exceeded our expectations,” City Manager Mark Hafner said.
“I love seeing people with that much passion, and his spirit has certainly rubbed off on our employees and citizens visiting Town Hall.”
Speakmon has also helped out with trees, decorations, displays and more at the Ronald McDonald House in Fort Worth, businesses’ front window displays and and friends’ houses.
‘You’ll be blown away’
The fascination with Christmas displays began in the 1980s, when Speakmon lived in Arlington with his wife, Candy.
He’d “always been interested” in the little Christmas villages he saw at stores during the Christmas shopping season and one day he picked one up, he said. It quickly “expanded into a bigger deal” that combined his Christmas spirit and woodworking skills and became a fun annual hobby.
As his collection grew, so did his neighbors’ interests. Since the Speakmons moved to Keller in 2005, their home has become a staple for many on the Christmas-light-viewing circuit.
Speakmon’s indoor displays feature lots of tiny Christmas villages, each one different than the next. Decorations are found throughout the house, with a bed adorned with lighted garland and a snowman taking a “bath” in a bathroom.
Taking a tour of the indoor displays, you’ll see Nativity scenes, lots of Christmas trees, ornaments, figurines, toy trains, a doll house and more, all sharing the Christmas theme and colorfully lighted.
To see the indoor decorations, you need a private invitation, but all are welcome to see the outdoor displays. Speakmon decorated the front yard in the city contest’s theme, “Candyland.”
You can see the Speakmons’ outdoor displays at their home, 1405 Briar Meadow Drive, and the best views of the decorations in the back yard are from a nearby street, Cat Mountain Trail. There are signs that direct you to the “Christmas lake display.”
“You’ll be blown away when you see it,” Speakmon said. “These displays are pretty elaborate.”
‘I built it just for this’
Speakmon said his favorite display outside is the full Nativity scene that has expanded to about 30 feet long. He fashioned each wood piece. Indoors, his favorite is the North Pole village, and the display that goes around their 12-foot-tall Christmas tree “is probably one of the best,” he said.
Speakmon said he isn’t sure how much money he’s spent on the decorations over the years, but he was able to cut the expense of a rented storage unit. Speakmon used to run an auto repair business, and after he retired he rented out the building and built a storage facility, about 20-by-40 feet, on the back of the property where he stores all of his holiday decorations.
“I built it just for this,” he said.
He has recently begun doing decorations for many other holidays, including Halloween, Easter, Independence Day and others.
Speakmon said Halloween is his second-biggest holiday, as far as decorations go. The day after, he takes them down and begins setting up all his Christmas displays, which usually takes two to three weeks to set up.
Speakmon has won some awards for his decorations, and he’s won the city’s decorating contest several times. His displays have garnered fans from folks on social media around the country, but he’s not really interested in the attention.
“If I can make somebody’s Christmas merry and bright by them coming and seeing what I do, that’s like a pat on the back to me,” Speakmon said.