Christmas decoration crooks can’t break family’s spirit

SURREY – Thieving grinches aren’t going to spoil Charyle Erickson’s Christmas, but they sure gave it a try.

“You’re not going to break my spirit,” she vowed.

More than a thousand dollars in Christmas display gear was swiped from her front yard in Fleetwood early Sunday morning, including a big inflatable Santa, a smaller one, a Santa sleigh and reindeer, a bunch of plugs and a Frosty snowman her family “hunted high and low for.”

When it comes to Easter, Halloween and Christmas displays, the Ericksons like to go big, and people come from far and near to check out their work.

“We decorate big-time,” Erickson said. It’s done largely in tribute to her dad Ken, who died of a heart attack 18 years ago. He also decorated big-time, sparing no expense.

“My dad was Viva Las Vegas Christmas,” she said. “You could see his house from a block away, it was crazy.”

And so, she said, “We do the same thing. It makes us feel good.”

Erickson figures the thieves “tore everything and ran” sometime between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. Sunday, and likely would have needed a vehicle to haul it all away.

When her husband Harold discovered the theft, Erickson said, he was reduced to tears. It was especially difficult for him to set up this year’s display, she said, on account of his hand being badly injured in a carpentry mishap at work.

“We’ve been doing this for 18 years,” she said, in Nova Scotia, Langley and, for the past three years, in Surrey. This is the first year anything was stolen.

“How do people do these things? I don’t understand it,” Erickson said. “The grandchildren are really upset.”

She said Surrey RCMP told her there had been five similar thefts that same night, but there was not much they could do about it seeing as the ornaments aren’t engraved.

The Ericksons, therefore, are offering a $500 reward for the return of their display gear. She can be contacted at

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