Local Holiday House Display Delighting Visitors For 40 Years
By Neil S. Friedman
Hundreds of Canarsie residents and visitors from other communities, representing several generations, gathered along East 93 Street, near the corner of Flatlands Avenue, Sunday evening to witness the opening of the Seddio family holiday house.
The flipping of a switch just after 5 p.m., illuminated more than 50,000 lights, a highlight at the annual event that started the action of 100 animated figures in a display valued at over $250,000. The magnificent display has long been considered one of the city’s most noted and visited seasonal attractions. Construction and setting up the exhibit usually takes a month and begins in early November solely with volunteers. Various members of the Seddio family supervise construction
Oohs, aahs, cheers and applause filled the chilly evening air when Frank Seddio, the current owner of the house who participated in the first Christmas display in 1963 when the home was owned by Frank Guarino.
Seddio, 57, who has a law office in the house year round and is a member of the New York State Assembly representing the 59th District, which encompasses Canarsie and surrounding communities, said he has been at the annual fête every year since its inception. The community activist even played Santa Claus for a five-year stretch beginning 35 years ago.
The gala display is divided into seven segments, each devoted to a different seasonal holiday celebration. The Nativity scene includes three animated wise men and figurines dating back 80 years, according to Seddio. There are also portions devoted to Kwanzaa and Hanukkah.
Highlights of the holiday display include Santa’s workshop, complete with animated elves, Santa and, of course, Rudolph and the other reindeer; a 15-foot toy soldier, which guards the display; a representation of the fictional Van Deer family enjoying Christmas Day; popular Disney characters, including Mickey and Minnie Mouse, a reindeer carousel and "Stumpy," an 8-foot computer-generated animation that offers renditions of a variety of Christmas carols.