Family and friends lend their helping hands in the spirit of Christmas.
Life-size ornate nutcrackers guard the front door of the snow-draped home. Inside, the home’s rich textures and color accents complement the traditional holiday patterns and colors of green, red, and gold. The open concept rooms are woven together with winter greenery, including evergreen and pine tree branches, and repeating dashes of light and sparkle. A large wreath crowns the patio fireplace, complete with ribbon and lights.
For many people, each holiday season brings dependable favorites and surprising delights. While some may flock to the novelty of contemporary and abstract Christmas decor, there is a comfort to be found within traditional evergreens and red plaid. Traditional does not directly translate to drab. Traditional, in this case, can mean family, friendship, and treasured memories.
Touches of Glitter & Gold
The homeowner has lived in this home with her husband for 15 years, and she’s found a rhythm when it comes to holiday decor. However, when it comes to decking the halls, “it’s a process.” Transforming a distinctive home without disrupting its natural flow and aesthetic can be a daunting task.
Inside the house, the homeowner decorates her trees and tables and erects many of her favorite Christmas trinkets. Recently, decorations from her youngest daughter’s wedding made it into the decor. Peacock feathers shoot out as the traditional tree’s topper, and the tree’s inner glow lights also came from the winter wonderland wedding. These personal touches echo the soft glam found from the gold accents throughout the rest of the home.
Outside, the bright roof lights do not vary much from year to year. A team from Wiggins Company Ground Care completes the outside lighting. Family friend Leah Ann Boss and local firefighters help with all the outdoor decorating. But sometimes, we all need a friend to lift us up — literally.
“I enlist and truly appreciate Bob Fennewald helping me with the areas I cannot reach and areas that take two people to finish,” says the homeowner. “He’s been my savior!”
The homeowner met Bob while he worked at River City Florist coordinating the floral arrangements and decor for both of her daughters’ weddings. Working with him throughout those events, the homeowner gained an appreciation of his talents, and the two struck up a wonderful friendship. Today, he is not only a friend but a trusted creative force behind each design, especially when dealing with tall ceilings and fireplace mantels.
Living with Village People
Quietly settled behind the show-stopping Christmas tree is a world of its own. A long-established centerpiece, the homeowners’ snow village sits perched atop their piano.
The intricate snow village is not your typical ice skating scene. Comprised of one-of-a-kind Department 56 Snow Village Series figures and buildings, the village boasts a pizza house, Mexican restaurant, a winery, a country club, and a golf course, among other rare snow-topped buildings.
“Many years ago, friends started the village for us,” says the homeowner. “Since then, friends and family have added pieces that remind them of us.”
The first pieces depicted moments of the homeowner’s lives frozen in time. Her husband’s parents worked in the automotive industry; therefore, a filling station is present. She and her husband met while in grade school; therefore, a school is given notable space. Naturally, the theme has carried on, immortalizing memories and signature life events into tiny, Norman Rockwell versions of their life.
“I have to talk myself into putting it up each and every year,” says the homeowner. “But, when it is finished, I always think it was worth the time and effort. Our grandkids love it.”
The snow village is colorful and inviting. Because the village is tiered, one’s aerial view can take in every village street and quirky resident.
The homeowner describes putting it all together as a tedious and laborious job. Because of the effort, the town stays alive until February — giving plenty of time to become lost in its tangled storylines, winding streets, and small illuminated windows.
“Each piece has a meaning for us and our lives. One of my personal favorites is the Habitat for Humanity home,” says the homeowner. “My mother and step-father, both now deceased, were very active in that service project. It serves as a gentle reminder.”
Holiday Party Delight
For this family, the holiday season centers around family and friends. The couple hosts a multitude of parties throughout the year to share time and catch up with loved ones.
Throughout the season, their outdoor kitchen earns its keep. The outdoor kitchen connects and is visible to the main kitchen. The homeowner explains that having the grill indoors affords reliable warmth while allowing her husband to remain part of the festivities. Plus, her husband’s friends love to collect around the grill. Depending on the menu, the grill makes an appearance on Christmas or Christmas Eve.
The outdoor kitchen has its holiday charm, too. On the counter, a black tree quietly showcases glittering food ornaments including hot dogs, pizzas, and an ice cream sundae.
The kitchen is also home to one of the many Santas featured around the house. In one room, he may be whipping up dinner or sipping a martini. In another, he has suited up for a motorcycle ride across the U.S. All gifts from friends, these Santas give the homeowner a chance to get the characters out and remember the person who gifted them.
While the holiday season may be full of parties, Christmas morning is relatively quiet at the house.
“Our big Christmas celebration is on Christmas Eve with family and friends. On Christmas morning, we typically have brunch with our siblings. That celebration provides a calmer and more relaxed atmosphere than our Christmas Eve,” says the homeowner.
After Christmas brunch, the couple visits their two daughters, both married, and their six grandchildren to see which presents Santa delivered. The couple also has a son who lives bicoastally, bouncing between Los Angeles and New York City.
“For us, Christmas Eve starts with brunch with our children and grandchildren and extended family. After brunch, we go downstairs for our gift opening,” says the homeowner. “Our family has grown, so seemingly hours later, we return upstairs for appetizers and then rush off to mass and church services.”
The downstairs tree departs from the rest of the house’s traditional character. For eight years, the homeowner has decorated the white tree for her grandchildren, who are currently between the ages of 8 and 14. The tree is full of ornaments they’ve made and decorations depicting their interests. The tree gives space for contemporary expression in an otherwise traditional landscape.
“It is just a more fun and less formal tree,” says the homeowner, “Plus, it is surrounded with gifts for all!”