Text by Robert C. Martin
We’re all fond of older, more established neighborhoods that, when decked out for the holidays, just seem to capture the timeless yuletide spirit. While many of the homes in these areas are already enchanting, they become even more magical once embellished with freshly cut greenery, sparkling lights, and colorful ornaments.
Alabama homeowners Jim and Dolly Walker are proud to live in their historic neighborhood, which transforms itself every December into scene worthy of a Currier and Ives lithograph. Built in 1910 during the heyday of the Arts and Crafts era, their Craftsman-styled, fieldstone abode is a delight to behold, particularly when the family busies themselves in preparation for the season. “Each year, we start making the house look like Christmas the day after Thanksgiving,” Dolly explains. “It really becomes a family affair when our daughters, two sons-in-law, and our three grandchildren join in the merriment!”
Honoring family traditions and remembering past loved ones also play important roles in the Walkers’ decorations. Through an assortment of vintage Santa figurines, Christmas books, crosses, beloved pictures of relatives, and other keepsakes, Dolly and her family festoon all three floors of their home with cherished collections. “We leave nothing unadorned, which is quite a feat when you consider that the house has six uniquely different fireplaces and mantels, a bevy of built-in bookcases, plus its ample share of porches,” she states.
Their yard also supplies much of the greenery used in sprucing up the mantels and stairway. Even harvested hydrangeas from the summer months and herbs of rosemary and lavender are incorporated into these natural arrangements for added beauty and fragrance.
When asked what she most loves about her home, Dolly is quick to respond: “It’s our home’s personality—not our possessions—that makes us love it so! Each room is lived in to the fullest, and much of the furniture and collectibles in them are family heirlooms that hold a special piece of personal history.”
And as Dolly can attest, these sentiments only grow stronger with each passing Christmas.