In the beginning, they only had about 300. holidayguide
Add another zero to that number, and that’s about the number of Santa Claus items that Harold and Kris Eisenberger, of White Township, own and decorate with for the holidays every year. The number has grown since the couple married 16 years ago.
The Eisenbergers will be featured Saturday on TLC’s “My Crazy Obsession: Christmas Collection 2,” highlighting Christmas fanatics who put a lot of time, money and effort into their pursuit.
The Eisenbergers will tell you, though, that their collection is not an obsession.
“We’re not obsessed with Santas,” Harold said. “We don’t keep them up all year round.”
[PHOTO: Harold Eisenberger and wife Kris, holding a few examples of the more than 3,000 Santa decorations they own, will be featured on national television Saturday night. (Submitted photo/TLC)]
When TLC called them in March hoping they’d be a part of their show, the Eisenbergers said no. Twice.
“Last year, around Halloween, our neighbor saw they were advertising on TV and said, ‘I’m going to call your name in,’” Harold said. “In March they called and said they’d like to shoot at the end of April. That meant I had to dig out all of my Santa Clauses and at first I told them no … wait until I have my Santas out.”
After some persistence from the producers, Harold finally said they could film — after their third request.
“We had to undecorate for Easter and decorate for Christmas in April.”
Kris was actually decorating for Easter when they called.
She was forced to take down her Easter bunny collection — about 500 bunnies — to begin decorating for the filming.
Putting up the collection on such short notice took the Eisenbergers about 14 hours a day for two weeks.
The decorations come in many forms — those that hang, those that make noise, candies, ornaments, tins, buttons and more.
The couple reported to the Gazette in 2011 that they procure the items from flea markets and area Goodwill stores, the oldest being the light-up Kris Kringle that they said has been repaired repeatedly.
The filming for the show also took about 14 hours for two days straight, a process that Kris called “exhausting.”
“Where we live, the bus goes by every hour,” Harold said. “The mics were so sensitive that if we were filming one part and the bus would go by we’d have to start over.”
The film crew had to ask their neighbors to stop mowing their lawn at one point during the filming process.
“They’d shoot everything three or four times,” he said. That way, the crew can pick and edit the best frames. One scene in particular, he remembers, the crew filmed someone knocking on their door four times.
The couple had no idea that the process would be so intense when they were picked for the show.
“By the time (the crew) left the second day at 11 at night I could have slept for three days,” Kris said.
Throughout the filming, they said that they realize now that reality TV isn’t all that much of reality.
“There’s no such thing as reality TV,” Kris said. “Because they tend to change your words a little and say ‘will you please say this?’”
Producers of the show wanted the Eisenbergers to admit on film that they were obsessed with Santa Clauses, but they refused.
Following the filming, the Eisenbergers had all of the Santas down once again for Memorial Day. The process of decorating for the holiday, for the second time this year, began just before Halloween.
“I need a break from the Santas,” Kris said. “I look at them from November to January.”
The show will premiere at 9 p.m. Saturday on TLC.
Watch a sneak peek of the show: