Inside, rooms on three levels are decorated with Christmas trees, wreaths, garlands and miniature Christmas villages.
And despite the death of Louis “Gee Gee” Galli in July, the stately home he shared for more than three decades with wife, Betty, is again hosting a number of yuletide gatherings for friends and Tracy organizations.
“Before Louie died last summer, we talked about Christmas and whether we wanted to decorate again this year, and Louie said, ‘Sure, go ahead, why not,’ and we have,” Betty Galli said.
Since the old Victorian was moved some 30 years ago from Stockton by barge to its present address on Platti Road west of Tracy Boulevard, the Gallis have filled nearly every room of the home with Christmas décor — every other year. And this is one of those “on” years.
“We’ve been adding Christmas stuff all those years,” Betty said. “I admit I’m probably crazy about it, but Louie was even worse! He’d tell me we needed this or that, and before you know it, he had brought it to the house.”
That Christmas-decoration buildup over the years caused a real problem in finding storage space in the house, but last year that was solved.
“Louie went out and bought a 40-foot steel van and put it in back of the house,” Betty said. “We nearly filled it up.”
This year, despite the loss of Louie, the process of pulling items out of the container and placing them in rooms in the house began on Halloween weekend and continued past Thanksgiving.
“Our daughter-in-law, Michelle Galli, really was the driving force this year,” Betty said. “She put a lot of time and effort into it.”
That effort included decorating 10 of 11 Christmas trees in the house. The most unique of them is a tree trimmed with miniature red International Harvester tractors.
“Louie was an International Harvester guy, and we have been adding small tractors and other I-H items for many years,” Betty said. “That tree is definitely one of a kind.”
Another unusual tree was a small antique “feather tree,” with feathers serving as limbs of a steel tree. The tree, now more than a century old, was a longtime possession of Louie Galli’s mother, the late Louise Galli.
The Christmas gatherings at the Galli Victorian started with an open house Dec. 5 and will continue into next week.
Last Sunday, members of the Tracy Breakfast Lions Club, of which Louie was an active — and vocal — member, arrived for their Christmas dinner. On Tuesday, Boy Scouts of Troop 525 filled the house for their holiday get-together, and members of the Farm Bureau were there Wednesday night.
Members of the Tracy Military Wives Club will arrive Saturday night, and the Tracy High Alumni Club members will cap off the season of gatherings Monday night.
During those evenings, members of the organizations usually tour the first and second floors of the house to check out the holiday décor and then adjourn to the basement, where the Gallis’ bar and kitchen are put to use to serve holiday cheer and meals.
“It may sound like a lot of work, but we have really loved having people come here at Christmastime,” Betty said. “We have always wanted to share this with others — and although Louie is gone, our family still wants to share.”
n Sam Matthews, Tracy Press publisher emeritus, can be reached at 830-4234 or bey e-mail at email@example.com.