She never imagined that what started innocently as making Christmas gifts for the children, would turn out to be a collection of snowmen too numerous to count!
When Bernice Ficke moved back to Westbank, B.C. from Princeton, B.C. in 1974 she and her sisters decided to make Christmas gifts for each other. The snowmen were made for the children as crafts. Most of the snowmen in her collection came from her next oldest sister Kay, although her younger sister Josephine and youngest sister Gwen also got in the spirit and created crafts that included snowmen.
Once Bernice’s three daughters, Heather, Karen and Sharon were old enough to hold a paintbrush, they painted the dough snowmen that hung as Christmas tree ornaments. For a couple of years while they were still in elementary school, the children would make all the tree ornaments.
Over the years Bea accumulated more snowmen from Christmas flea markets, craft shows, silent auctions, etc. Some are made from frosted glass, others are ceramic, but most are sewn using a soft fabric and then stuffed. From small to big, tree bobbles to door hangers, single snowman pieces to complete groups or families, Bernice has them all.
Kay gave her the first animated snowman that sings Frosty the Snowman. Another laughing rollicking snowman is activated through a motion detector. There are wooden cutouts of snow couples, draped with cloth, frosted glass snowmen with L.E.D. lights and coffee mug snowmen. In 2006, Jo created a beautiful quilt wall hanging with snowmen around the perimeter and four snowmen standing vertically and horizontally in one of the panels.
A few of the snowmen stay out all year long. A throw pillow that Heather gave her several years ago has a spot above her favourite chair. Sharon’s snow couple graces the hearth in front of the fireplace in their living room, as does her favourite snowmen couple given to her two years ago, by her second daughter Karen. The tall thin wooden cutout snowmen stand at the foot of the stairs in the foyer and lastly, the wall hanging downstairs in the recreation room stays put.
Whether homemade, built from kits, sewn or stuffed, baked or glass blown, Bernice has been collecting snowmen for at least 35 years. She has no idea how many there are in her collection and it keeps getting bigger each year, as she buys or receives more snowmen as gifts.
What makes snowmen collecting so appealing to Bea? “You never see a frown on a snowman,” she states matter of factly, “there’s always a smile on their faces!” Yes, Bernice’s snowman collection has taken on a life of its’ own…sort of like our friend Frosty the Snowman.