A sparkling Christmas connects family and friends
Rome was not built in a day, and neither was the magic of Christmas. Starting in November, Nancy Knipp begins her home’s holiday transformation. Cozy, comfortable, and festive are a few of the feelings Nancy wants her guests to experience in her home during the holiday season.
Not an inch of the house misses out on holiday sparkle. Evergreen trees sprout in almost every room, garland wraps around the banisters, and the walls project familiar phrases such as, “merry and bright,” and “let it snow.”
Nancy describes her holiday home style as traditional. She gravitates toward warm, rich reds, forest greens, white lights, and classic plaids surrounded by familiar characters including Santa, nutcrackers, and a Nativity scene. No detail is left unattended. Silver reindeer glisten, accenting the living space and bedroom. One can find jars of treats throughout the home, and the table scape looks like the set of Netflix’s latest feel-good holiday film.
Nancy’s Christmas collection has organically grown over the years. So much so that a backup tree had to be brought in.
“The Santa tree was probably my first tree, other than our regular tree. I used to do hair, and a lot of people gave me Santa ornaments. It got to be so many that I thought I would just do another tree,” Nancy says.
There are now seven full-size and two miniature Christmas trees in the house. Each one with a different theme, including patriotic, sports, and candy cane. The Santa tree features handmade plaster Santa faces created by an artisan based in Kansas.
The Mickey Mouse tree is the most recent addition. Nancy has visited Disney World several times and picked up ornaments on each trip. The tree showcasesMickey and all of his friends along with iconic Disney World attractions such as the Cinderella Castle.
Nancy incorporates vintage pieces from her early life that remind her of her upbringing. These pieces include a 49-year-old, or older, Mr. and Mrs. Claus displayed on the basement fi replace. Nancy purchased both the Clauses and a crib set under one of the trees from a Sears catalog. In addition, Nancy’s bedroom tree features some of the first ornaments Hallmark ever made. These vintage touches bring warmth and hominess to her house that mass-produced, modern decorations cannot replicate.
One of Nancy’s most prized pieces, the aviator Santa air balloon floating above the dining room table, came. from the late Jack Stepplemen’s estate sale. Jack was the owner of the Jacques Distinctive Fashions, a store previously located on High Street in downtown JeffersonCity and was affectionately known as “Mr. Christmas.” Each year, Jack would create a winter wonderland that attracted visitors from around the community.
Christmas Runs in theDNA
Impressively, Nancy does most of the decorating herself. However, it may help that Christmas runs in her DNA.
“Christmas goes back to my grandfather when I was little,” she says. “My grandfather did the decorating. He would go buy something every year. He even had lights outside when a lot of people didn’t at the time.”
Her grandfather’s festiveness carried on through Nancy’s mother. She shared that her mother and father never argued much, except when it came time to put up the Christmas tree. Nancy’s family was known to make the tree as perfect as possible. These antics included spray painting trees that weren’t green enough and drilling holes to fill in branches to create a fuller tree.
While Nancy may not alter nature to achieve a picture-perfect tree, she shares an equally intense tradition with her family. During the week of Thanksgiving, Nancy and her two daughters jump-start the holiday season with a cookie baking marathon.
“Last year, we baked over 10,000 different pieces of candies and cookies. We do a production. It takes us about five days. Every year, I think, ‘Why are we doing this? There’s flour everywhere!’ But, it’s fun. When you have 10 batches of sugar cookies, it adds up fast. Too dang much, let me tell you. Sometimes I think I am nuts.”
The threesome shares sweets with family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and more. By Christmastime, almost all the cookies and candies are happily devoured.
While Nancy’s brightly decorated home radiates holiday cheer, her top priority is to have a great time connecting, eating, and playing. After all, Christmas isn’t Christmas without the smiles of family and friends.