|Photography by Taylor Allen|
For Donald and Jane Reed, Thanksgiving brings more than family gathered around a stunningly set table laden with turkey, steaming dishes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. It ushers in the time of year when they lovingly bring out Christmas decorations and turn the first floor of their home into an artistic holiday wonderland.
The day after Thanksgiving, while many women are braving the shops and crossing off gifts on their shopping lists, Jane begins a three-day house transformation. Her love of design began at a young age. “I was about 8 or 9,” Jane says. “I just love to do it.”
Out comes greenery: swags, wreaths and items for the mantel. Out come nutcrackers, antique drums and vintage Santas, which she uses to create what she describes as a traditional-style design. Out come the unique ornaments created by artisan friends such as Jefferson City resident Deen Weidler and Radko ornaments they’ve collected over the years. “It’s just what I like,” she says of her pieces and how she decorates. “For me, more is better.”
Jane’s lifelong love of the arts lends itself to a home full of holiday flair. “I love unbelievably creative handcrafted pieces,” she says. Some she’s created herself; others have come from talented people she knows. One tree in their home is decorated solely with the Christmas ornaments she received when working as a docent at the Governor’s Mansion.
When decorating for the holidays, Jane hardly does the same thing twice. “I’d probably die if I had to do that,” she says.
For Jane, it’s truly an artistic outlet, so much so that she usually decorates at least three other homes for the holidays. But what makes her home special are the pieces her family has come to know and love. In their entryway, a standing bear greets guests. Their kids and grandkids have patted the bear so often that some of it has worn off. Jane also takes great care when decorating the nearly 8-foot-tall heirloom 1914 Herschede hall clock and other antiques adorning their home. She uses eclectic pieces they’ve collected over time to create vignettes throughout the house.
Each year, Jane enjoys creating a statement piece with the mantel: lots of greenery, twinkling white lights and Christmas ribbon. Her results can be called muted traditional yet not overly frilly and feminine. “Don is way OK with the decorations,” Jane says of her annual holiday designs.
“It’s not a hardship,” Jane says, “though it’s not nearly as fun taking it down.”
When it’s time to come down, Don and Jane pack the larger pieces back into the basement and put the ornaments and smaller pieces into empty drawers throughout the house. “I’d love to say I wrap them all and pack them away in boxes, but I don’t,” Jane says.
The putting away might not be as fun, but by the following November, Jane’s winter wonderland is sure to emerge again. “I am a Christmas lady,” she says. “No doubt about that.”