Family Continues Traditionally Adding to ‘Northopolis’

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WESLACO – Tens of thousands of lights and several favorite Christmas characters decorate a home on Jasmine Street in Weslaco.

“Northopolis” is what it’s called and a mother and son are the ones responsible for continuing the tradition.

Minerva Banda is Rey Banda’s mother and for the past 16 years she’s helped build, repair and grow “Northopolis.”

“All of this is a lot of work for him and for me,” she said.

For more than decade, the tradition has grown from a small Santa Claus sitting on a wooden chair to more than 20 Christmas characters, positioned perfectly in front of their home.

“I had no idea this is what he meant,” she said.

Christmas is a special time of year for the Banda’s. It’s a joyous celebration of everything Christmas with a personal touch.

“He said, ‘I want you to make the characters for me.’ I said, ‘why don’t I just go buy them for you,’” she said.

The characters are all handstitched, glued and made to look just like the real thing. But when Christmas is over, the characters don’t go far from the home.

“First we added on a storage shed in the back. So we packed them up and put them there. But then we ran out of room there too,” Banda said.

The characters live in the home, from the living room, to the kitchen, bedrooms – everywhere.

“We look at them every day. I see the reindeer every day by my washer and dryer, and I just love it,” Banda said.

Banda mentioned she sometimes catches herself speaking to Mary.

No matter how many more Christmas characters are added, they’ll always have a place at Northopolis. They may be outside during the holiday and inside in the offseason.

The time, space and hard work to make just a few weeks out of the year special is all worth it.

“When people come by, look at the display, especially the children, you see the sparkle in his eye and everything just melts because it makes everything worthwhile,” Banda said.

Not only do people enjoy looking at the Christmas displays, Banda also bakes some of the tastiest cookies for people when they drive by.

The Banda’s start working on new ideas and Christmas characters almost immediately after Christmas is over. People can follow the latest on the Northopolis on their Facebook page.


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