Awaken to Xmas Morn 1960 - Page 2

Unforgettable MCM that was transformed into a glowing holiday delight of yesteryear
  Fridays on the Homefront
"You could bring the Queen of England" to Kyle Dawson's house, says entertainer Charles Phoenix (above), "because it doesn't get any better." Here, Phoenix broadcasts his tour of the Dawson holiday house.
 

The animated children's figures in Dawson's collection once complemented department store holiday window displays in the 1960s. Dawson had his figures shipped from Arkansas, but they were not in good shape and required everything from new clothing to new motors.

"I wanted the figures to be dressed in traditional outfits, so I took them to a seamstress friend, who did a beautiful job of recreating their red-and-white candy-striped pajama sets, from photos I showed her."

Remaking the individual decorative Christmas gift packages also took time, and Dawson even paid tribute to Sears by hand-painting the iconic 1950s Sears logo onto one gift box.

  Fridays on the Homefront
One of Kyle's restored holiday figures. "I took them to a seamstress friend, who did a beautiful job of recreating their red-and-white candy-striped pajama sets," he says. Photo courtesy Kyle Dawson
 

"With that gift display under the Christmas tree, we were in the ultimate world of the Christmas 'Twilight Zone,'" says Phoenix. "With Kyle's restraint, sense of balance, and concentration, he makes you think you walked back in time. And there is a difference—it's not just a 'collection.'"

Outside Dawson's home, the scene was equally captivating, with subtropical plantings and palms serving as the backdrop for an illuminated Poloron-brand blowmold Santa-and-reindeer set that Dawson found back in 2008. They were originally sold at Sears, he recalls, "...and back then, you could have used Sears' convenient layaway plan!"

Dawson spent an entire summer restoring, masking, and painting the entire Santa-and-reindeer set by hand. "It's actually a hybrid of pieces I've modified over the years," Dawson explains. "I repainted them to give them more detail...since I was a kid [when I last saw them] and had forgotten how richly detailed they originally were."

When lit from within, as they were originally intended, the Santa-and-reindeer features appeared lost, Dawson admits, "so my goal was to enhance each one so that you could appreciate the detail, and then light them from the outside, which really shows them off."

  Fridays on the Homefront
Dawson even paid tribute to Sears by hand-painting the iconic 1950s Sears logo onto this gift box. Photo courtesy Kyle Dawson
 

Though Dawson was in the planning stages for his holiday display before the pandemic, he is glad that he was able to complete it in time for Christmas 2020. "Because last year was a very rough year on people, I was grateful that so many people got to see my display, and that it brought happiness," Dawson says. "It was special, and not something that I do every year."

Phoenix can't wait for the next opportunity to visit Dawson's winter wonderland. "Kyle is a creative design genius of the highest order," he points out. "You could bring the Queen of England to his house, because it doesn't get any better."

  Fridays on the Homefront
Another restored children's figure. Photo: Adriene Biondo
 

Like the revival of Camelot circa 1960, Kyle Dawson's home, for a brief, shining moment at Christmas 2020, "was the epitome of the mid-century Christmas dream decor-scape," Phoenix adds.

To follow Charles Phoenix on his tour of Kyle Dawson's holiday wonderland, click here.