BOISE — Inside a modest house on the Boise Bench hides a whole other world that, with a couple clicks, comes alive every Christmas.
Taking up residence in almost all of the front room is a winter wonderland that would make most civil engineers envious.
“It’s our village, yeah,” says Bob Neff, who constructed the miniature merry metropolis.
Candy Neff never thought her husband would take it this far. “No, no,” says Candy.
But this is Christmas. “Yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah,” she says.
Nine years ago, when Bob Neff began building his Noel neighborhood on his wife’s piano, it was simpler.
“First year, probably ten buildings, 10 or 12 buildings, some trees,” Bob recalls.
It has since swelled ten-fold complete with more than 100 buildings, hundreds of trees, and close to a thousand pocket-sized people. There’s a ski run, a skating rink, two trains, and even a drive-in movie theater that plays Christmas classics.
There’s a healthy helping of nostalgia, and you could spend all evening and still not see the entire tapestry of Bob’s tiny town.
“We’ve got a Christian church here with a wedding going on inside,” Bob says, pointing out some elements of his village. “We try to make it as realistic as we can possibly make it.”
It’s an endeavor that Bob embarks on every September.
“I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many hours, probably, that he will spend on it,” says Candy.
For more than two months the retired RV salesman rarely leaves this room. “The hard part is stopping, you know, it really is,” admits the 70-year-old. But when Bob does stop it always makes him happy.
As for his electric bill come January? “I haven’t noticed any difference,” Bob laughs. “Then again I don’t look real hard.”
And what about adding more next year? Well, as long as it doesn’t encroach on other things Christmas. “As it is right now we have room for the tree and presents,” Bob says, describing the front room. “But we don’t have room to open the presents.”
Not that you’d hear too many complaints from Candy. “As long as I can get my tree in I’m good,” she says. “It’s just, it’s awesome, we love it.”
Bob says one year he left the display up for 12 months since his kids couldn’t come home for Christmas, and he didn’t want to spend another two months setting it up!
Do want to put yourself inside Bob Neff’s Christmas Village? We also brought along our 360 camera and created a virtual snow globe for you!
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