There are 28 trees on exhibit in the basement of Ken Diltz near Cloverdale. The winter wonderland is on display each year - Putnam Sentinel
There are 28 trees on exhibit in the basement of Ken Diltz near Cloverdale. The winter wonderland is on display each year. (Putnam Sentinel/Nancy Kline)

CLOVERDALE — Brothers Ken and Tom Diltz grew up surrounded by Christmas trees during the holiday season. When their parents passed away, they continued this tradition. This year the brothers put up and decorated 28 Christmas trees in Ken’s basement.

“Our parents had a hotel in Cloverdale,” Tom explained. “Every year they would put up numerous Christmas trees. As we got older, we would help.”

“You probably won’t decorate this year,” Tom and Ken’s father said at the beginning of the holiday season after their mother died.

“It was almost like a challenge,” Tom said. “We decided we would decorate, and we did. We put up several trees and decorated them.” After their father passed away and the hotel was torn down, the decorations were taken to Ken’s home.

“We put some of the trees upstairs floor for a few years,” Ken said. “Then, we decided to take the display downstairs.”

Ken said they start decoration the basement in September. “Tom and I do most of the work,” Ken said, explaining the trees are stored in the corner of the basement the remainder of the year.

“The exhibit is different each year,” Tom said. “We get more trees, and we always decorate them differently.” Even a red, white, and blue patriotic tree has a different look each year.

“Sometimes we put the lights in up and down stripes. Other times we have the colors go around the tree.” The decorations on the tree are also changed each year.

Ken and Tom said decorating the trees is a labor of love. Ken said his wife Joyce and son Ken Jr., always help to put up the display.

“This year we have trees that are all pink, all white, all blue and all green. There is even a purple tree with purple gifts under it.

Ken built a corner wooden tree with shelves to decorate for the display.

A sunflower tree is new to the exhibit.

Also, on exhibit in the basement is a miniature village and train set. On the walls is a white covering with stars.

In one corner of the room is a wooden cross built by Ken, covered with garland in lights, as a reminder of the reason for the season.

The brothers have also acquired several Santa Claus figures in various poses that are included in the basement Christmas wonderland.

Ken said they have numerous guests who visit to see the basement display.

“People hear about it and ask to see it,” Ken said. “We love showing it off.”

Once the holiday season is over, the brothers take all the bulbs and lights off the trees and put them into storage, ready for next year’s exhibit.