Back in high school, when the other kids were buying CDs and fast food, Jim Carbone was spending his money on something a little less predictable.
Carbone, Strongsville's Ward 3 councilman, now has hundreds of glittering, twinkling and singing snowmen and Santas and trees throughout his house, including a "Christmas room" in the basement with a talking Christmas tree and snow scene filled with animated characters.
"This is my pride and joy," Carbone said, pointing to the display
But there's also the singing Santa in the living room, a store display he bought in 1989 from the former Hill's department store; a talking Yule log by the fire place; and a nearly life-size snowman in the foyer.
He loves it all.
"I pull in my driveway at night and see all this, and it's great," Carbone said. "It's calming and soothing to come home to this."
You can blame his obsession on his mom, Louise, who raised Carbone and his three sisters in a home that became a "Christmas wonderland" at the holidays.
So he thought nothing of buying unique pieces even in high school and college, putting his purchases into storage until he could finally display them in his own house.
Many of the pieces were bought the day after Christmas, when he'd scour the stores for half-off deals.
"The managers would set things aside for me, they were so used to me coming in," he laughed.
He also still adds to his mother's collection, giving her a unique Christmas decoration every Thanksgiving.
"Don't get me wrong -- we understand the real meaning of Christmas," he said. "But as a police officer, we deal with everything that's wrong in the world. It's nice to have one month of the year when we can be surrounded by things like this."