Seeking lost tradition
Family appeals to public for mistakenly sold Christmas village
Many families have family heirlooms, passed down through the generations.
This was the Clouter family’s hope for the ceramic Christmas village Bernice Clouter had collected over the years. She had planned to pass it on to her daughter, Edwina Osmond.
Her family is hopeful this can still happen, but they need help.
Shakira Patryluk, Osmond’s daughter, took to the internet with a plea.
“Please share and help me make my mom’s Christmas” her post read.
The Facebook post is seeking the person/people who purchased a Christmas village set in a Rubbermaid container during an estate sale in Gander in 2017.
The family is pleading to have it returned, and are willing to offer a reward.
“I shared the post in hopes of finding it for my Mom as it would mean the world to her to have it back in our family for Christmas,” Patryluk said in a Facebook message to The Central Voice.
Osmond told The Central Voice her mother passed away in September 2011, and her father, Wallace Clouter, passed away January 2017, so they had an estate sale in April 2017.
“In the estate sale we had their things for sale and the things that weren’t for sale were put into another room,” Osmond explained. “This container was supposed to have been put in that room but got misplaced. The container held the Christmas village that she had been collecting for many years before she passed.”
Osmond said the last piece she can recall her mother getting was around 2007, and was a special piece put out by Canadian Tire that had a greenhouse on the side with poinsettias in it.
“That’s the last piece I can remember her getting because the set was big enough for where they used to display it,” Osmond said.
The set included a train station, school, hotel, houses, as well as a ski slot, train, a small ice rink she made out of a mirror, a gazebo, and a lot of little knickknacks that went along with it, including a telephone booth and mailboxes, many of which her mother collected from Eaton’s and Sears.
“All that was in that box and my brother (Craig Clouter) said he knew that he sold the container,” Osmond said. “He said he thinks he got $10 for it. He didn’t even look in it. He said someone must have just said, ‘How much you want for these Christmas decorations’ and he didn’t think no more of it than that.
“I was doing a sale upstairs. Someone came to me and said something about the village and I said, ‘Yeah Craig moved that to the room,’ and I took off downstairs.”
She continued, “The night before we were getting everything ready and I asked him to move that container to the room and I just assumed that he had done it and he didn’t even hear me say it he said. So it didn’t get moved and the next morning that was it, it was gone.”
As soon as the family realized it was gone they started posting on Facebook, Kijiji, buy and sells and everywhere they could think of.
“We never heard anything,” Osmond said. “Then when Christmas rolled around last year we said if someone got it they got to put it out, so we tried it again and we never got anything again.”
This is the family’s third attempt to try and reach whoever has the Christmas village.
“I have an idea of who may have it but I don’t know who they are,” Osmond said. “I remember these people that were in the house. They knew when they walked out of there with that village for $10, they knew something wasn’t right.”
Osmond is hanging on to the memories of her and her mother collecting the pieces each year.
“She always liked it when she done it and she got her compliments on it,” she said. “I can see now how she would get no matter who came in complimented her on it.”
“I got this pit in my stomach right now, this feeling in my stomach. Mom and I have been doing that together for years. If she got a piece, even the small stuff like the phone booth and the mail boxes, she would buy me a piece.”
These were supposed to be handed on to Osmond, and Patryluk would have been the next family member to get it.
“She left me a small antique table set besides that, with a sate, and I would give that up in two seconds to have that village back,” Osmond said. “I know the antique sate and table set and two chairs are worth money… but there’s no price you could put on this (village).”
Anyone with information can contact Shakira Patryluk through Facebook, or call (780) 838-6518.
They are hoping for a Christmas miracle, that the right people see their pleas and contact them.
“If they don’t,” Osmond said, “I just wish that the person that got it feels and has as much pleasure out of it as what we did.”
A family originally from Gander is hoping to retrieve a family heirloom, a Christmas village similar to the piece pictured here, that was accidently sold during an estate sale in Gander in April 2017. They are currently making their third internet plea for information as to who may have the set.