Family brings back display in father’s memory

FREMONT, Mich. (WOOD) — A Newaygo County home decked out for the holidays will welcome visitors this weekend for a very special reason.

Terri Balder’s late father, Don Henderson, earned the nickname “Mr. Christmas” around Fremont Lake in the 1990s for his handcrafted, wooden Christmas decorations.

This year the Henderson yard came alive once again.

“I would hope he’d be smiling down from Heaven and saying, ‘What a beautiful job, Terri. What a beautiful job’. And then my mom would be saying, ‘Oh my gosh what did you do to my yard, Terri!’” Balder joked to News 8. “I think he’d be very proud of it and very happy to see how beautiful it is and how much support we’ve got from the community in this.”

Henderson died in 2014. His wife, Marian, passed just a few months ago.

It was Balder’s 16-year-old daughter who asked to bring out the decorations this year to honor her grandparents.

“It’s been really a good experience to do all this,” Melina Balder told News 8. “Now the Christmas spirit has taken over the whole street.”

Not only are Henderson’s Noel train cars, ladder of elves and other wooden winter creatures back for all to enjoy — neighbors have decked out their own homes to memorialize Mr. Christmas.

To keep that festivity going, the Balders will host a fundraiser at the home located at 7250 W. Lake Drive in Fremont Dec. 20 to Dec. 23 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. each night.

Santa will be there to greet visitors and pass out winter treats.

Donations are appreciated. They will go to TrueNorth Community Services Children’s Christmas Programs, which was Henderson’s favorite charity.