By Liz Collin

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – 2020 might be a year you’re ready to be finished with, for many reasons. But one Minneapolis woman has found a way to bring some cheer to the next few months.

“It’s pretty. It’s whimsical and people are happy and nice to each other. We could all use a little bit of that,” Jill Berendt said.

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After a year many of us may not want to remember, Berendt decided to bust into her 45 crates of Christmas decor early.

“This is the beginning of it. This is old town,” Berendt said while pointing to her village collection.

That collection started 25 years ago in her kitchen window. It’s grown to more than 100 buildings and 250 tiny trees, complete with a train chugging across a sprawling wooden platform.

“My husband has it wired so there’s one dedicated circuit to just the village,” Berendt said.

“Then, I have to move on to the 18-foot tree that’s in the living room,” she added.

 The tree with 700 ornaments on it.

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“There’s just many, many other things that get done,” she said.

Berendt estimates it takes her hundreds of hours each year. She typically starts just after Halloween.

“A lot of people decorate for all the seasons. I just invested in this one,” she said.

But, after the year that’s been she found some joy boxed up in her basement.  Encouraging anyone else to take a peak when the timing feels right.

“This is what makes me happy but you should decorate with whatever makes you happy,” Berendt said.

Berendt said her daughter is away at graduate school and typically helps her decorate.

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So, that was just another reason to get a jump on things early this year. At this rate, Berendt hopes to be finished in time for Thanksgiving.

Liz Collin