LEOMINSTER (CBS) – It’s not often you can honestly say, today we met quite a man. He turns 104 next week, and in Leominster they call him “Mr. Christmas.” And now the city is making sure everyone can continue to enjoy his life’s work.
It’s a holiday labor of love that Louis Charpentier has worked on for 64 years, carving Christmas figures out of styrofoam, starting with a manger scene. “The following year I said, well I might as well make another thing and keep on going,” he says. And that tradition continued. “I made 260 of them,” says Charpentier.
Every year he displayed them at his house. Generations visited and marveled at his skill, but after last year, when he turned 103, Charpentier decided to slow down a bit. That’s when Leominster’s Mayor, who had visited the displays since he was a kid, stepped in. “The Mayor said, ‘why don’t we bring it to city hall?’ That’s all right with me,” says Charpentier.
Today, volunteers are undoing what last winter did, repairing and touching up the figures and getting them ready for a special display. “This is really the kind of thing that’s simple, that’s nostalgic and traditional and special. That’s why we call him Mr. Christmas. He’s synonymous with Christmas for us,” says Leominster Mayor Dean Mazzarella.
“He must have a very giving heart to bring such love and cheer to this town,” says Lisa Stewart, one of today’s volunteers.
Charpentier’s 74-year-old son Ernie continues his own tradition. “I was 10 years old when we started doing it. I would have been really sad if this thing had just gone by the wayside,” says the younger Charpentier.
And as we wrapped up our visit we asked Louis Charpentier if he had anything else he would like to say. This is it: “Merry Christmas to everyone, and a happy new year, and a happy birthday to me!”
Mr. Charpentier turns 104 on Dec. 10th. His holiday art goes on display this weekend at Leominster City Hall.
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