Christmas golden for one Carson City man

To say Carson City resident Gene Munnings has an obsession with decorating for Christmas may be an understatement.

His house is perfectly decorated outside with garland, bows and thousands of white lights. He has a decorated tree in nearly every room in his house. Both bathrooms are decked out in red and green. Each chair in his kitchen has a Santa hat on it. He has an entire miniature Christmas village set up on a shelf in his hallway. His poodle is named Noelle.

But it is his tree for which he is most famous, at least among his friends.

One can hardly see green for the gold decorations on Munnings' tree.

His tree is nine and a half feet tall, boasts 3,633 lights and 10,987 ornaments - all in various shades of gold. It took him eight hours just to put the artificial tree up and carefully wrap lights on each branch. The ornaments, carefully placed in the center of garland laid in a diamond pattern, take another 12 to 15 hours to attach to the tree. Needless to say, when it's done, it lights up the living room.

"It's an accomplishment when its done," Munnings said.

"This is the most I've ever had," he added fingering one gold ornament. "It's a tree different from anything anyone's ever seen. People never see the same ornaments when they look at the tree.

"Sometimes people say, 'Oh no, I see some green. You need some more ornaments.'"

He has at least 400 ornaments that didn't make it on the tree this year. Oh, and then there's the 200 to 300 ornaments he either purchases or receives as gifts each year that he needs to find space for. Several gifts at the base of the tree boast gold ornaments as decorations.

"It's hard to find something I don't have now," he said.

Munnings has collected gold ornaments, lights and garland for his Christmas tree since 1973. There are Disney ornaments, beehives, Santas, angles, a cell phone - anything you can think of that's been made into a gold ornament is on Munnings' tree.

He started collecting after his family decided that rather than decorating every year for Christmas, they would travel for Christmas. Munnings didn't think that was right, and insisted on a little tree. The 3-foot tree was decorated in all gold ornaments, and Munnings has had the collection ever since.

That first, small tree is in a bedroom in his home, decorated in red and white, the gold ornament collection long ago outgrowing the tree.

This year, Munnings had an extra electrical outlet put in his house to keep up with his golden tree. Without the extra electricity flowing into the house, Munnings feared the lights could burn down the tree.

"I wanted to keep using the lights, but I couldn't leave them on without them getting too hot," he said. "Without the lights, the tree wouldn't look the same as it does now."

The tree usually goes up before Thanksgiving and has come down as late as February.

"My wife jokes that nothing better happen to me before the tree comes down," he said.


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