Here comes Christmas sneaking up on us again without any warning. 

As usual it's later than we think, but there's one man in Pittsfield who's been Christmas-minded since last August.

He's whipped up a striking collection of indoor and outdoor decorations — made them himself — and he's hoping to rent them out.

Down in his cellar at 875 North St. for the last three months, Mr. Williams has been working with his buzz saw, painting, and pasting, and his garage is now full of three-foot angels, four-foot angels, choir boys, six-foot Santas, reindeer, and sleighs.

He makes them out of Homosite, a water-proof  material  made of cardboard, plastic and glue. Then he either paints them — and very gaily, too — or in the case of elaborate designs, pastes ready made decorated designs on them.

Some of the designs he gets out of a catalogue provided by the Homosite company. Others, though, are his own ideas. "I copied the snow men and candies off a Christmas card I got last year," he says.

Mr. Williams got the idea of renting out Christmas decorations while he was working as a draftsman in mechanical design for GE, but he didn't do anything about it till this year.

"It's something new," he says. "People will buy a Santa Claus and use it two or three times. Then they get sick of it. This gives them something new that they can set up every year."

"This is my first attempt at anything like this. If it pans out I'll go ahead. If it doesn't I'll try something else. If this works out I'll start working on Easter decorations — eggs, bunnies and so forth."

Mr. Williams expects to lose money this first year. He's only charging $5 rental for most of his setups. The biggest one, a Santa, four reindeer and a sleigh, he expects to rent for $15. It would cost $68 to buy it ready-made from Homosite. 

The rental period will be from Dec. 15 to Jan. 3.

Mr. Williams has always enjoyed working with wood, but until last summer, when he made and sold some bird houses, bird feeders and windmills, he's never done it commercially. 

This Story in History is selected from the archives by Jeannie Maschino, The Berkshire Eagle.

Community News Editor / Librarian

Jeannie Maschino is community news editor and librarian for The Berkshire Eagle. She has worked for the newspaper in various capacities since 1982 and joined the newsroom in 1989.