Ashlander gets a really big idea for Christmas

The holiday spirit has been known to drive those in its grasp to extremes. Ashland's Jeff Lawniczak is no exception. The spirit came to him during the Siskiyou Singers holiday concert — it was time for him to create.

The homemade wreath that dominates the house at 149 Ashland St. is 8 feet in diameter, almost too big for the house. What would drive someone to do such a thing?

"I remembered when my mom used to make these big wreaths when I was younger," Lawniczak said. "She made this huge peace wreath and that is what I had in mind."

Like a man possessed, Lawniczak Googled and got ideas on how to make such a wreath from plywood. He then recruited his neighbor Don Dolan and went to work.

"I was surprised how cheap it was to make," Lawniczak said. "The total cost was under $50, and it took about 10 hours to make. I did it in less than two days."

Armed with a trash can lid, two gallons of paint, a jigsaw, glue, three strands of blue and red lights, plywood and a leftover box of old ornaments, the pair created their masterpiece.

"After I stenciled the outline, everything was cut with a jig-saw, including the ribbon," Lawniczak said. "Don (Dolan) glued all the ornaments himself, while on his knees."

Dolan decided on a trash can lid for the ribbon-button.

The hoisting of the wreath required three people, a ladder, three heavy duty eye-hooks, rope and pulley.

"It went smoothly," Lawniczak said. "But the thing was really heavy and awkward."

When the wreath was snuggled into the roof peak with care, the residents of Ashland soon came to stare.

"I've gotten all kinds of compliments on it," Lawniczak said. "They range from it (the wreath) being 'original' and 'creative' to how many people are not putting out ornaments this year, so it's so nice to see."

Lawniczak's family was restrained on complimenting his creation.

"My kids didn't really say anything, because they're used to me doing crazy things like this," Lawniczak said.

His wife, Lori, said she thought it came out "better than she expected." Lawniczak didn't know whether to take it as a compliment or not.

Lawniczak insists that the wreath is disposable, a one-shot deal. Certain parts will be recycled, then the wreath is no more.

The wreath will be coming down soon, around Jan. 5, but the muses are already swirling for next year, inspired by the power and ease of the jig-saw

"My imagination is already running," Lawniczak said. "I'm thinking about a giant candy cane, but I'm not making any promises. I'm getting old."

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